A grab bag for sure, but readers may find themselves angling to be in Budapest in April for its annual pillow fight.

Attractions—and repulsions—to stifle the next “Are we there yet?” whine from the back seat.

National Geographic here comes to the rescue with roadside pleasures to fracture the tedium of long-distance car travel, though many of these sights will be destinations in themselves. Befitting geographers, this is an international selection, from Japan to New Zealand, southern Chile to central Alaska. And as befitting National Geographic, the photography takes pride of place, while the accompanying explanatory paragraphs could use a little less gee-whiz and a little more informational meat. In a collection of 125 roadside attractions aimed to satisfy many tastes, there inevitably will be handfuls that specific readers will find disturbing/demented/to-be-avoided-at-all-costs—“wacky” doesn’t begin to cover the array—while others might make a nifty day trip. Consider the classic-car junkyard in White, Georgia, or the Burlingame, California, Pez museum. There is an island of pigs (although its “roadside” credentials are suspect) and an absolutely beautiful arcade of trees for strolling in Klevan, Ukraine. (Time, place, and theaters of war should be considered when choosing when to visit.) There is the predictable Prada store sitting in the desert outside Marfa, Texas, some gross venues—the two-decker outhouse, the wall of chewed gum—and giant animals and mythic figures aplenty.

A grab bag for sure, but readers may find themselves angling to be in Budapest in April for its annual pillow fight. (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4263-2407-9

Page Count: 112

Publisher: National Geographic Kids

Review Posted Online: May 13, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016


Though usually cast as the trickster, Coyote is more victim than victimizer, making this a nice complement to other Coyote...

Two republished tales by a Greco-Cherokee author feature both folkloric and modern elements as well as new illustrations.

One of the two has never been offered south of the (Canadian) border. In “Coyote Sings to the Moon,” the doo-wop hymn sung nightly by Old Woman and all the animals except tone-deaf Coyote isn’t enough to keep Moon from hiding out at the bottom of the lake—until she is finally driven forth by Coyote’s awful wailing. She has been trying to return to the lake ever since, but that piercing howl keeps her in the sky. In “Coyote’s New Suit” he is schooled in trickery by Raven, who convinces him to steal the pelts of all the other animals while they’re bathing, sends the bare animals to take clothes from the humans’ clothesline, and then sets the stage for a ruckus by suggesting that Coyote could make space in his overcrowded closet by having a yard sale. No violence ensues, but from then to now humans and animals have not spoken to one another. In Eggenschwiler’s monochrome scenes Coyote and the rest stand on hind legs and (when stripped bare) sport human limbs. Old Woman might be Native American; the only other completely human figure is a pale-skinned girl.

Though usually cast as the trickster, Coyote is more victim than victimizer, making this a nice complement to other Coyote tales. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-55498-833-4

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017



Starting with a lonely slice of pizza pictured on the cover and the first page, Thornhill launches into a wide-ranging study of the history and culture of food—where it comes from, how to eat it and what our food industries are doing to the planet. It’s a lot to hang on that slice of pizza, but there are plenty of interesting tidbits here, from Clarence Birdseye’s experiments with frozen food to how mad cow disease causes the brain to turn spongy to industrial food production and global warming. Unfortunately, the volume is designed like a bad high-school yearbook. Most pages are laid out in text boxes, each containing a paragraph on a discrete topic, but with little in the way of an organizing theme to tie together the content of the page or spread. Too many colors, too much jumbled-together information and total reliance on snippets of information make this a book for young readers more interested in browsing than reading. Kids at the upper edge of the book's range would be better served by Richie Chevat's adaptation of Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma (2009). (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-897349-96-0

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Maple Tree Press

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2010

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