SKI SOLDIER

A WORLD WAR II BIOGRAPHY

A fascinating and inspiring tale.

Born in Massachusetts, Peter Seibert loved to ski. It was only natural that he would enlist during World War II in the 10th Mountain Division to serve as a soldier who fought on skis.

In spare, brief free-verse lines that will enable readers’ eyes to slide effortlessly down the pages, Borden relates the story of a boy who grew up skiing, doing whatever he could to get out on the snow. Talented and skillful, Seibert was winning races in his teens. After enlisting, followed by many months of training in the Rocky Mountains, he was sent to war in Italy’s Apennines, towering heights that were held by the Germans in seemingly unassailable positions. Hiking up in darkness and snow, Seibert’s division positioned itself for a surprise dawn attack, described with ample suspense. Although that attack was successful, only days later Seibert would be badly injured in another battle, ending his war but beginning a long recuperation driven by his determination to ski again. Like many members of the Mountain Division, Seibert was a pioneer in the American ski industry and would go on to found the ski resort of Vail. An accurate, high-interest narrative focused on a mature topic but written at an accessible reading level is a rare gem. Many period photographs are included (revealing Seibert and his fellows to be white), as is excellent backmatter.

A fascinating and inspiring tale. (Verse nonfiction. 10-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 11, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-62979-674-1

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

50 IMPRESSIVE KIDS AND THEIR AMAZING (AND TRUE!) STORIES

From the They Did What? series

A breezy, bustling bucketful of courageous acts and eye-popping feats.

Why should grown-ups get all the historical, scientific, athletic, cinematic, and artistic glory?

Choosing exemplars from both past and present, Mitchell includes but goes well beyond Alexander the Great, Anne Frank, and like usual suspects to introduce a host of lesser-known luminaries. These include Shapur II, who was formally crowned king of Persia before he was born, Indian dancer/professional architect Sheila Sri Prakash, transgender spokesperson Jazz Jennings, inventor Param Jaggi, and an international host of other teen or preteen activists and prodigies. The individual portraits range from one paragraph to several pages in length, and they are interspersed with group tributes to, for instance, the Nazi-resisting “Swingkinder,” the striking New York City newsboys, and the marchers of the Birmingham Children’s Crusade. Mitchell even offers would-be villains a role model in Elagabalus, “boy emperor of Rome,” though she notes that he, at least, came to an awful end: “Then, then! They dumped his remains in the Tiber River, to be nommed by fish for all eternity.” The entries are arranged in no evident order, and though the backmatter includes multiple booklists, a personality quiz, a glossary, and even a quick Braille primer (with Braille jokes to decode), there is no index. Still, for readers whose fires need lighting, there’s motivational kindling on nearly every page.

A breezy, bustling bucketful of courageous acts and eye-popping feats. (finished illustrations not seen) (Collective biography. 10-13)

Pub Date: May 10, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-14-751813-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Puffin

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2015

ISAAC NEWTON

From the Giants of Science series

Hot on the heels of the well-received Leonardo da Vinci (2005) comes another agreeably chatty entry in the Giants of Science series. Here the pioneering physicist is revealed as undeniably brilliant, but also cantankerous, mean-spirited, paranoid and possibly depressive. Newton’s youth and annus mirabilis receive respectful treatment, the solitude enforced by family estrangement and then the plague seen as critical to the development of his thoughtful, methodical approach. His subsequent squabbles with the rest of the scientific community—he refrained from publishing one treatise until his rival was dead—further support the image of Newton as a scientific lone wolf. Krull’s colloquial treatment sketches Newton’s advances in clearly understandable terms without bogging the text down with detailed explanations. A final chapter on “His Impact” places him squarely in the pantheon of great thinkers, arguing that both his insistence on the scientific method and his theories of physics have informed all subsequent scientific thought. A bibliography, web site and index round out the volume; the lack of detail on the use of sources is regrettable in an otherwise solid offering for middle-grade students. (Biography. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-670-05921-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2006

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