As touted by the publisher, another candidate to fill the hole left by the late Erma Bombeck. It’s unfortunate that every writer who tries to find a few laughs in the sturm und drang of raising children needs to be compared to Bombeck or Dave Barry. True, Borgman is no Erma Bombeck, but why should she have to be? She is a nationally syndicated columnist (more than 350 Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service clients) whose subjects are kids, family, husband, and keeping it all together. This is a collection of her columns, organized loosely into chapters such as “I Cook, Therefore I Am,” about feeding a family of five; “Household Hazards,” about the challenges of running a household for same; and “Are We Having Fun Yet?,” about traveling with same. The columns are sometimes amusing, occasionally moving or insightful. A few fall flat. Amusing : “A Field of Greens,” about coaching her husband to cook using sports metaphors, or “Joy Ride,” about coping with a choking baby and two school-age terrorists in the backseat of a minivan 30 seconds before the light changes. Moving: “The Long Good-bye,” about her mother-in-law suffering from Alzheimer’s. Insightful: “Cool, Calm, and Crazy,” about the responsibility of being a parent. Very flat: “Misdemeanor Recipes,” about who should really get the credit for hand-me- down recipes. A section called “The Heart of Things” waxes maudlin on old-fashioned virtues, like duty, responsibility and saying no to your children. Borgman is witty and has a playful imagination. On the other hand, why spend 21 bucks on this uneven collection’subscribe to one of the newspapers that carries her column, and you’ll get the day’s news as well.

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-671-02722-0

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Pocket

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1999

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This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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