CASEY AND DEREK ON THE ICE

A “Casey at the Bat” for the hockey fan. Using the classic sports poem as a template, Sederman tells a contemporary nail-biter. There’s only a minute left to play in the big game between the Rockets and the Titans, with the Rockets trailing by one. Sitting on the bench, Derek and his brother Casey know that they can secure at least a tie for the Rockets. When the Titans unexpectedly call a time-out, Coach uses the opportunity to put the brothers in and change the game plan. Derek speeds down the side of the rink to take a shot; at the crucial moment, a Titan crashes into him. It means a penalty shot for the Rockets, a chance to tie the game. But Derek is too injured to take it; Casey swoops in to secure the tie. And in a tense overtime... Tight rhythms keep the story buoyant. Pullen’s oil paintings aptly complement the larger-than-life plot, the characters’ earnest faces canvasses for their emotions as they give the game their all. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-8118-5132-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Chronicle

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2008

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Blandly laudatory.

I AM WALT DISNEY

From the Ordinary People Change the World series

The iconic animator introduces young readers to each “happy place” in his life.

The tally begins with his childhood home in Marceline, Missouri, and climaxes with Disneyland (carefully designed to be “the happiest place on Earth”), but the account really centers on finding his true happy place, not on a map but in drawing. In sketching out his early flubs and later rocket to the top, the fictive narrator gives Ub Iwerks and other Disney studio workers a nod (leaving his labor disputes with them unmentioned) and squeezes in quick references to his animated films, from Steamboat Willie to Winnie the Pooh (sans Fantasia and Song of the South). Eliopoulos incorporates stills from the films into his cartoon illustrations and, characteristically for this series, depicts Disney as a caricature, trademark mustache in place on outsized head even in childhood years and child sized even as an adult. Human figures default to white, with occasional people of color in crowd scenes and (ahistorically) in the animation studio. One unidentified animator builds up the role-modeling with an observation that Walt and Mickey were really the same (“Both fearless; both resourceful”). An assertion toward the end—“So when do you stop being a child? When you stop dreaming”—muddles the overall follow-your-bliss message. A timeline to the EPCOT Center’s 1982 opening offers photos of the man with select associates, rodent and otherwise. An additional series entry, I Am Marie Curie, publishes simultaneously, featuring a gowned, toddler-sized version of the groundbreaking physicist accepting her two Nobel prizes.

Blandly laudatory. (bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-7352-2875-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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DANCING IN THE WINGS

Dancer-choreographer Allen (of Fame fame) joins forces again with Nelson (Big Jabe, p. 565) in their second dance-themed picture book, following Brothers of the Knight (1999). Sassy is a tall African-American girl of middle-school age, a serious ballet student with extra-long legs, extra-big feet, and an extra-sassy manner of speaking that earned her the unusual nickname. She bickers with her brother, trading mean-spirited insults about his big head and her big feet, and snaps out sassy retorts to snide comments from her teacher and the more petite dancers in her ballet classes. Because of her height, Sassy is not allowed to participate in her school’s dance recitals—a most unlikely situation at any ballet school in the US. Despite this lack of performing experience (and despite wearing a non-regulation, sunshine-yellow leotard to the audition with a strict Russian ballet master), Sassy wins a competition to attend a summer dance program in Washington, D.C. She finally finds her way into the spotlight there, dancing with a boy who is taller than even she is. Some of Nelson’s illustrations would have benefited from tighter art direction: the height of the Russian ballet master seems variable from page to page and the dance shoes and positions of the feet are sometimes not quite correct. Despite these minor flaws, Sassy is an appealing girl with attitude who learns to accept her less-than-perfect physical features and make the best of her talents. Little girls who long for pretty tutus and pointe shoes of their own will like this sassy lassie. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-8037-2501-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2000

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