THE BIG BOOK OF SOCCER

Definitely a GOOOOOAAAAAALLLLL.

A 360-degree look at the world of soccer.

Mundial presents readers with a trivia-heavy smorgasbord of lingo, history, statistics, and symbols from the world of soccer. Most double-page spreads take on a different topic or focus of the game while a few topics stretch across several pages. The arrangement may be slightly haphazard for chronological readers, but for soccer fans who are content to open and browse, this book should be an enjoyable read. Weighill’s cartoon illustrations are bright, inviting, and slightly goofy, but they should be applauded for their inclusivity, as a range of racial and gender presentations can be found throughout the book. The text does its best to remind readers that women’s soccer is just as exciting and important as the men’s game, and even those steeped in the game may learn something they didn’t already know about some of the women’s teams and their impressive histories. Be prepared for some follow-up questions about the Dick, Kerr Ladies and their North American tour. The book also does a commendable job highlighting international tournaments beyond the World Cup, giving fans something to research in their off seasons. It’s unfortunate that only three women make the list of the greatest soccer players of all time (out of 11), but the book’s focus throughout may soften this blow. Overall, a worthy title for any sports section and a title that will be appreciated by both die-hard and novice fans alike.

Definitely a GOOOOOAAAAAALLLLL. (index) (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7112-4910-3

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

UGLY

An apt choice for collections that already have stronger alternatives, such as R.J. Palacio's Wonder (2012).

A memoir of the first 14 years in the life of Australian Robert Hoge, born with stunted legs and a tumor in the middle of his face.

In 1972, Robert is born, the youngest of five children, with fishlike eyes on the sides of his face, a massive lump in place of his nose, and malformed legs. As baby Robert is otherwise healthy, the doctors convince his parents to approve the first of many surgeries to reduce his facial difference. One leg is also amputated, and Robert comes home to his everyday white, working-class family. There's no particular theme to the tale of Robert's next decade and a half: he experiences school and teasing, attempts to participate in sports, and is shot down by a girl. Vignette-driven choppiness and the lack of an overarching narrative would make the likeliest audience be those who seek disability stories. However, young Robert's ongoing quest to identify as "normal"—a quest that remains unchanged until a sudden turnaround on the penultimate page—risks alienating readers comfortable with their disabilities. Brief lyrical moments ("as compulsory as soggy tomato sandwiches at snack time") appeal but are overwhelmed by the dry, distant prose dominating this autobiography.

An apt choice for collections that already have stronger alternatives, such as R.J. Palacio's Wonder (2012). (Memoir. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-425-28775-0

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

MUSIC WAS IT

YOUNG LEONARD BERNSTEIN

An impeccably researched and told biography of Leonard Bernstein’s musical apprenticeship, from toddlerhood to his conducting debut with the New York Philharmonic at age 25. Rubin traces Lenny’s education, musical influences and enduring friendships. Lenny reveled in mounting elaborate musical productions in Sharon, Mass., his family’s summer community. As a student, he augmented support from his family by giving lessons, accompanying singers, transcribing music and more; the narrative sparkles with details that match its subject’s energy and verve. Especially crystalline are the links drawn between father Sam’s decades-long dismissal of his son’s musical gifts and the consequential importance of mentors and supportive teachers in the young man’s life. In exploring Lenny’s devout Jewish roots and coming of age during the persecution of Jews in Europe, the author reveals how dramatically Bernstein altered the landscape for conductors on the American scene. In an epilogue sketching Bernstein’s later life, she briefly mentions his bisexuality, marriage and children. Drawn from interviews, family memoirs and other print resources, quotations are well-integrated and assiduously attributed. Photos, concert programs, early doodles and letters, excerpts from musical scores and other primary documentation enhance the text. Excellent bookmaking—from type to trim size—complements a remarkable celebration of a uniquely American musical genius. (chronology, biographical sketches, author’s note, discography, bibliography, quotation sources, index) (Biography. 9-12)

 

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-58089-344-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: Jan. 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2011

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