Brimming with a contagious love of jazz and its first lady, this work brings down the house.

STRUTTIN' WITH SOME BARBECUE

LIL HARDEN ARMSTRONG BECOMES THE FIRST LADY OF JAZZ

Lil Hardin, dubbed “the first lady of jazz,” gets a loving ode in this biography in free verse.

Raised by “Mama and Grandma / in Memphis, Tennessee, / two blocks from / wild, wailin’ Beale Street,” Lil was a precocious musician from childhood. But the night life of Beale Street with its “devil’s music” pulled her away from the proper, ladylike college life her mother wanted for her. She got a job at a music store and then won a place in an all-male band, an exceptional feat at the time. She met Louis Armstrong, a shy trumpet player, when they played in the same band. She told him he couldn’t stay playing second trumpet and was behind much of his success. “Dang, they were musical royalty— / inventing / a new kind of sound— / makin’ / jazz.” As she earlier demonstrated in Josephine (illustrated by Christian Robinson, 2014), Powell is a die-hard fan of jazz, and it shows in the hum of her lines. She writes in her introduction that she hopes this biography inspires readers “to explore early jazz—and makes you want to get up and dance.” On both counts, her writing succeeds. Himes’ ink-and-graphite illustrations are inspired by the time period and add to the immersive feel of the work.

Brimming with a contagious love of jazz and its first lady, this work brings down the house. (notes, timeline, glossary, resources, sources, index) (Verse biography. 8-14)

Pub Date: Dec. 11, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-58089-740-2

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A football fan’s treasure trove of magic seasons and moments.

THE GREATEST FOOTBALL TEAMS OF ALL TIME

Storied football teams are ranked and compared.

After an introduction that establishes the subjectivity of any sort of greatest rankings (“Because the only thing better than watching football is arguing about it afterward”) and defines the familiar-to-sports-fans acronym G.O.A.T. (Greatest Of All Time), this book sets out to build cases for which teams (and players) were the best. An unsurprisingly NFL–heavy book, the first chapter covers 20 top NFL teams season by season; this makes up roughly the first half of the book. The selected seasons range from 1940 (the Bears) to 2016 (the Patriots), with some franchises appearing more than once. Alongside narrative highlights of the team’s season, each set of two spreads includes sidebars covering impressive team statistics and interesting anecdotes (such as the first player to dump Gatorade on a coach, strange sports superstitions, and a prank involving an alligator in a shower). The second chapter breaks from the team focus to select individual NFL players at each position, and the third chapter branches out to single-season college teams (limited to 10, which is sure to disappoint readers from unrepresented college football towns). Then the book returns to the NFL with blurbs about the best year for each franchise, takes a break to highlight a single team from a handful of other leagues (including Canadian and a women’s league), before returning to the NFL for a collection of top-10 lists by team stats.

A football fan’s treasure trove of magic seasons and moments. (index) (Nonfiction. 8-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68330-072-4

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Sports Illustrated Books

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

UGLY

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 18, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more