WHEN STRAVINSKY MET NIJINSKY

TWO ARTISTS, THEIR BALLET, AND ONE EXTRAORDINARY RIOT

A composer and a choreographer collaborate on a 20th-century masterpiece and cause a riot.

In 1913 Paris, two Russians, Igor Stravinsky the composer and Vaslav Nijinsky the dancer/choreographer, took the western European art world by storm when the Ballet Russes premiered The Rite of Spring. Each returned to his Russian roots for both music and movement, leaving far behind the melodic strains and gorgeous balletic movements of Swan Lake. The new sounds, more harsh and dissonant, and the new steps, more earthy and folkloric, left the audience both wildly cheering and jeering. Stringer winningly plays with the symmetry of the two names in her rhythmic text and dynamic page design. The vibrantly saturated colors of her paintings pulse with energy. Musical notes, figures rehearsing and boisterous crowds at the premiere fill the pages. Humorous details abound, notably an appealing dog and cat who watch the artistes create. Stringer also incorporates moments from Stravinsky’s earlier ballet Petrouchka, which featured Nijinsky as the tragic puppet, as well as a full measure of onomatopoeia and visual references to contemporary painters. The music is familiar not only to concert goers, but also to fans of the fiery volcanoes and fearsome dinosaurs in Fantasia. Said Nijinsky to Stravinsky: “What an uproar and what a delight!” Music and dance made entertaining and joyous. (author’s note, sources) (Picture book. 5-8)

 

Pub Date: March 5, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-547-90725-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Make space for this clever blend of science and self-realization.

A PLACE FOR PLUTO

If Pluto can’t be a planet—then what is he?

Having been a regular planet for “the better part of forever,” Pluto is understandably knocked out of orbit by his sudden exclusion. With Charon and his four other moons in tow he sets off in search of a new identity. Unfortunately, that only spins him into further gloom, as he doesn’t have a tail like his friend Halley’s comet, is too big to join Ida and the other asteroids, and feels disinclined to try to crash into Earth like meteoroids Gem and Persi. Then, just as he’s about to plunge into a black hole of despair, an encounter with a whole quartet of kindred spheroids led by Eris rocks his world…and a follow-up surprise party thrown by an apologetic Saturn (“Dwarf planet has a nice RING to it”) and the other seven former colleagues literally puts him “over the moon.” Demmer gives all the heavenly bodies big eyes (some, including the feminine Saturn, with long lashes) and, on occasion, short arms along with distinctive identifying colors or markings. Dressing the troublemaking meteoroids in do-rags and sunglasses sounds an off note. Without mentioning that the reclassification is still controversial, Wade closes with a (somewhat) straighter account of Pluto’s current official status and the reasons for it.

Make space for this clever blend of science and self-realization. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68446-004-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Capstone Young Readers

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A high-spirited impetus to clap hands—or better yet, someone else’s.

HIGH FIVE

The Dragons Love Tacos (2012) crew invites readers to the 75th Annual High Five Tournament.

It’s not going to be a walkover, as opponents in the five rounds range from Gigantic the Bear (“700 Pounds of Hair”) and, after her, dizzying bouncer Kangaroo Paul to the ultimate challenger, eight-limbed Octopus Jones. Fortunately, young contenders have a yetilike ex-champ in their corner to offer vigorous if unevenly rhymed and metered commentary (“Was that your new signature slap? / My grandma fives better than that!”) as well as savvy advice on hand positioning and style points. Accentuated by block letters in diverse hues and the occasional outsized “HIGH FIVE!” Salmieri’s scribbly ink-and–colored-pencil drawings of the all-animal cast, audience, and panel of judges reflect the infectiously rising suspense and wild excitement as the unseen “Kid” the narrator addresses sends each foe in succession reeling away in stunned defeat. Just one thing left to do: “Hold up your trophy / and shout out ‘woo-hoo!’ / The new high five champ is you!” Along with the verbal coaching, a chart of variations on “The Classic,” such as “The Windmill,” “The Double Behind the Back Slam,” and even “The High Foot,” offers further challenges to ambitious fivers of all genders. As characters frequently address “Kid” directly and hold up dramatically foreshortened hands or paws to viewers, caregivers should be ready for this book to take a beating.

A high-spirited impetus to clap hands—or better yet, someone else’s. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 16, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-42889-3

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more