A stimulating, well-presented approach to getting students interested in writing.

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A writing manual based on the city of Chicago.

Larson (The Creative Writing Handbook, 1992) and Boone (Forest High, 2011) collaborate to produce a guide primarily for students, although it’d be useful for anyone “curious about Chicago and anxious to write.” Their guide covers nearly a dozen of the nationwide Common Core State Standards for writing, including orienting students to the rhetorical forms of argument, exposition and narrative, and to disciplines like planning, revising and rewriting. The authors approach their task by presenting students with a series of archived headlines from different pivotal points in Chicago history, from the days of fur trader Jean-Baptiste Pointe DuSable in 1790 to the passage through town of President Abraham Lincoln’s funeral train in 1865 to the Great Fire of Chicago in 1871, as well as the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893, the World Series of 1906 and newly elected Barack Obama’s victory speech from 2008. In all these cases and many more, the authors encourage writing students to extrapolate from the headline and quick bullet points of the event, with pointed motivations to consider as many angles as possible, such as the president’s Secret Service detail or the engineers on Lincoln’s train. It’s also recommended for students to go online for further research and to imagine how they would have reacted at the time. Finally, students are encouraged to envision a new scenario spun off from the headline’s setting but involving them personally. In all cases, students are carefully guided through the use of educator Benjamin Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning Objectives, first using so-called lower-level thinking (knowledge, comprehension and application) and then higher-level thinking (analysis, synthesis and evaluation). The headlines are well-chosen to represent a wide range of interests—everything from the social reforms of Jane Addams and Hull House to the poetry of Carl Sandburg and the prose of Studs Terkel—and the concept of making writing exercises come alive through local history is an inspired one.

A stimulating, well-presented approach to getting students interested in writing.

Pub Date: Sept. 21, 2013

ISBN: 978-1937484156

Page Count: 180

Publisher: Amika Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014



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




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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