A levelheaded, readable manual for taking some of the chaos out of child-rearing.


Life Will Get Better


A debut guidebook offers natural and common-sense approaches to child behavior problems.

The note of optimism sounded in the title of Beurkens’ work is present throughout the volume, which functions as a written version of a deep, calming breath taken in the midst of the turmoil parents can feel while raising their young children. Her focus is nominally kids with anxiety or mood problems, tackling such issues as attention deficits and energy imbalances. She consistently expresses a patient, evenhanded reassurance for the young parents who are her obvious target readership. Beurkens, a clinical psychologist, uses a stance of big-picture professional observation to keep parents centered on essentials, even in the face of multiple distractions. “Others may see your child only through the lens of their challenges,” she writes, “and sometimes even you may have a hard time remembering who your child is underneath the problems and difficulties that arise.” She outlines the broad-strokes nature of some of those complications and then lays out a series of simple, mostly natural approaches to overcoming them. She stresses good nutrition, for instance—steps to cut down or eliminate excessive sugar and all artificial sweeteners from a child’s diet, strategies to get youngsters involved in thinking about their own eating habits, etc. Given today’s screen-oriented social world, the points Beurkens makes about the importance of physical activity (and even simple movement) are particularly refreshing. “Human beings are wired for connection,” she points out, meaning the face-to-face, personal kind rather than the electronic one. The book’s most convincing section is one of its shortest, on the vital role sleep plays in health (overstressed parents will want to pay close attention to the pages and pages of restorative common sense in this chapter). From first part to last, the message is that parents are doing their children a big service by being vigorously mindful of the basics. New parents especially will find a great many useful tips in these pages.

A levelheaded, readable manual for taking some of the chaos out of child-rearing.

Pub Date: March 10, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9973639-1-3

Page Count: 293

Publisher: Sky Water Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 8, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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With this detailed, versatile cookbook, readers can finally make Momofuku Milk Bar’s inventive, decadent desserts at home, or see what they’ve been missing.

In this successor to the Momofuku cookbook, Momofuku Milk Bar’s pastry chef hands over the keys to the restaurant group’s snack-food–based treats, which have had people lining up outside the door of the Manhattan bakery since it opened. The James Beard Award–nominated Tosi spares no detail, providing origin stories for her popular cookies, pies and ice-cream flavors. The recipes are meticulously outlined, with added tips on how to experiment with their format. After “understanding how we laid out this cookbook…you will be one of us,” writes the author. Still, it’s a bit more sophisticated than the typical Betty Crocker fare. In addition to a healthy stock of pretzels, cornflakes and, of course, milk powder, some recipes require readers to have feuilletine and citric acid handy, to perfect the art of quenelling. Acolytes should invest in a scale, thanks to Tosi’s preference of grams (“freedom measurements,” as the friendlier cups and spoons are called, are provided, but heavily frowned upon)—though it’s hard to be too pretentious when one of your main ingredients is Fruity Pebbles. A refreshing, youthful cookbook that will have readers happily indulging in a rising pastry-chef star’s widely appealing treats.    


Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-307-72049-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.


New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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