Just about as ephemeral as a Trump’s noxious emissions.

A CHILD'S FIRST BOOK OF TRUMP

Like an orange potato with arms, legs, and windblown blond hair—and, of course, a big mouth—Americus trumpus is explicated for a putative child audience.

Like Go the Fuck to Sleep before it, this is no “child’s first book,” despite the format. Yes, it rhymes, and yes, it has pictures, but this is full-on political satire that’s about as subtle as, well, its subject. Black (Navel Gazing, 2016, etc.) adopts Seussian rhythms to describe “this strange beast you keep hearing about,” while Rosenthal likewise emulates the good doctor’s palette and line. “The beasty is called an American Trump. / Its skin is bright orange, its figure is plump; / Its fur so complex, you might get enveloped. / Its hands are, sadly, underdeveloped.” Here the white-coated professorial narrator points to a labeled diagram. And so the book goes, plucking almost every possible piece of low-hanging fruit. A Trump loves cameras; it eats cash. “I’ve won each and every game that I’ve played,” it declares, clutching an Oscar statuette, a taco-eating trophy, and a first-grade attendance trophy. There are debate victories and the wall, paid for “using another’s dinero.” Rather oddly, the book counsels readers to defeat the Trump not by going to the polls (or encouraging their parents to) but by turning off the TV, for “ignoring a Trump is a Trump’s biggest fear.” There are certainly chuckles to be had in this book for readers of the blue persuasion, and it’s probably no coincidence that Rosenthal depicts most humans as various shades of blue. Except for the wall, however, Trump's racism is entirely absent, and none of those blue figures, even those seeking refuge at the Canadian border at book's end, is wearing a headscarf or otherwise obviously Muslim. In the end, this is something of a one-joke pony that can’t compare to its inspiration’s seemingly endless capacity for self-parody and doesn't go nearly as far as it could or he does.

Just about as ephemeral as a Trump’s noxious emissions.

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-8800-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 26, 2016

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NUTCRACKER

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 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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