While not exactly groundbreaking, the evidence in this book will motivate parents to make mealtime a priority.

READ REVIEW

THE HOUR THAT MATTERS MOST

THE SURPRISING POWER OF THE FAMILY MEAL

Family supper receives the star treatment.

The Parrotts (Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts, 1995) emphasize the power of the family meal, showcasing how the simple act of eating together strengthens bonds and empowers families. Written in a friendly, conversational tone, the book examines the positive benefits established by family mealtimes, listing correlations such as better school performance, healthier eating habits and happier families. Those wondering how overworked parents can make this 1950s fantasy a reality can relax, as the Parrotts’ research has found that even hassled family meals, such as PBJs, are better than not eating dinner as a family at all. While the book includes occasional factoids and easy sample recipes, the authors dish out more child psychology than helpful dinner tips. Wince-worthy conversation suggestions such as playing “Mad, Sad, Glad” to get families to open up (in which everyone mentions three things that made them mad, sad, and glad that day) are unlikely to appeal to kids raised on Facebook and video games. Still, readers who overlook the predictable parenting advice will glean some inspiration. The book also includes suggestions and anecdotes by Stephanie Allen and Tina Kuna, entrepreneurs who turned their personal assemble-and-freeze family cooking methods into the popular meal assembly franchise, Dream Dinners.

While not exactly groundbreaking, the evidence in this book will motivate parents to make mealtime a priority.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4143-3744-9

Page Count: 225

Publisher: Tyndale House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AND THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON

This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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