SPARKS FLY HIGH

THE LEGEND OF DANCING POINT

Tales of outsmarting the Devil are common; what sets this one apart is that it’s rooted in a real place and is sparked by acrylic and pastel illustrations. Colonel Lightfoot is born with quicksilver feet and his dancing dexterity grows along with him. His other love is his Virginia land that stretches green along the James River, except for one strange, marshy point where rumors claim the Devil dances. One evening, as Colonel Lightfoot sets out for a ball, the Devil’s sparks ruin his fine dancing clothes, and he vows to rid his land of the brazen demon. When the Devil challenges him to dance for it, the colonel is confident he will win—until hours go by. Exhausted, the colonel taunts the Devil to leap higher and spin faster, finally tricking him into oblivion. American folk art inspires Gore’s depiction of colonial times with feathery backgrounds, pointy-chin-and-nosed people and gossamer overlays on fabric. Clad in a vest with lacey fichu and purple pants, the cloven-footed, leering Devil with pointy beard, curled mustache and donkey ears, exudes heat. Bursting with sizzle, this version is devilishly crafty. (author’s note) (Folktale. 6-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2006

ISBN: 0-374-34452-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Melanie Kroupa/Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2006

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Make space for this clever blend of science and self-realization.

A PLACE FOR PLUTO

If Pluto can’t be a planet—then what is he?

Having been a regular planet for “the better part of forever,” Pluto is understandably knocked out of orbit by his sudden exclusion. With Charon and his four other moons in tow he sets off in search of a new identity. Unfortunately, that only spins him into further gloom, as he doesn’t have a tail like his friend Halley’s comet, is too big to join Ida and the other asteroids, and feels disinclined to try to crash into Earth like meteoroids Gem and Persi. Then, just as he’s about to plunge into a black hole of despair, an encounter with a whole quartet of kindred spheroids led by Eris rocks his world…and a follow-up surprise party thrown by an apologetic Saturn (“Dwarf planet has a nice RING to it”) and the other seven former colleagues literally puts him “over the moon.” Demmer gives all the heavenly bodies big eyes (some, including the feminine Saturn, with long lashes) and, on occasion, short arms along with distinctive identifying colors or markings. Dressing the troublemaking meteoroids in do-rags and sunglasses sounds an off note. Without mentioning that the reclassification is still controversial, Wade closes with a (somewhat) straighter account of Pluto’s current official status and the reasons for it.

Make space for this clever blend of science and self-realization. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68446-004-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Capstone Young Readers

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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THE FENWAY FOUL-UP

BALLPARK MYSTERIES, #1

From the Ballpark Mysteries series , Vol. 1

A new series for emerging chapter-book readers combines the allure of baseball parks with the challenge of solving a mystery. Mike and Kate have tickets to a Red Sox game and an all-access pass to the park, courtesy of Kate's mom, a sportswriter. The pass comes in handy when it's reported that star player Big D's lucky bat has been stolen, as it allows them to help find the thief. Historical details about Fenway Park, including the secret code found on the manual scoreboard, a look at Wally the mascot and a peek into the gift shop, will keep the young baseball fan reading, even when the actual mystery of the missing bat falls a little flat. Writing mysteries for very young readers is a challenge—the puzzle has to be easy enough to solve while sustaining readers' interest. This slight adventure is more baseball-park travel pamphlet than mystery, a vehicle for providing interesting details about one of the hallowed halls of baseball. Not a homerun, but certainly a double for the young enthusiast. On deck? The Pinstripe Ghost, also out on Feb. 22, 2011. (historical notes) (Mystery. 6-9)

 

 

Pub Date: Feb. 22, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-375-86703-3

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 30, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2011

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