It’s hard for most US readers to imagine what it is like to grow up amid ongoing violence, but that is what Liam’s life has been in Belfast. However, this 11-year-old’s family life, school, and dreams will be known to children everywhere. After providing an overview of “the Troubles,” McMahon movingly describes the conditions of Liam’s existence: a Catholic, he has never known a Protestant—“peace walls” separate the Catholic and Protestant sections of Belfast. On his way to school, Liam passes buildings with large messages painted on them: “Brits Out,” or “No Surrender.” Family and school conversations often include passing references to a bomb going off. O’Connor’s full-color photographs show all the aspects of Liam’s life, including his training for a boxing match; the boy loses, but rather than believe that the judges ruled against him because of where he’s from, he quotes a rule he has learned—“We win, or we lose. Then we go on.” This book provides a realistic glimpse of a place where peace has taken a fragile hold, and offers a reminder that the dreams of children can flourish amid misery. (map) (Nonfiction. 7-12)

Pub Date: March 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-395-68620-2

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1999

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PLB 0-06-027729-7 Huang, well known for his writings on Tai Chi for adults, offers a vibrant book of proverbs for children, brilliantly illustrated with his calligraphic art. According to Buddhist tradition, every month and year are linked to one of the twelve animals who arrived—one by one—to listen to Buddha speak of their powers. Each represents a kind of chi, the primal force. While Huang translates the Chinese words, he calls the creatures by their Chinese names. Each spread holds an energetic rendering in brushstroke of the animal, with its name in Chinese characters and in transliteration. These are in black and red, with text printed in various colors, to arresting and lively effect. The language is colloquial; readers will be seduced by the vivacious line and rich verbal description, and will eagerly seek their own animals from the chart at the back. (charts, glossary) (Picture book. 7-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 31, 1999

ISBN: 0-06-027728-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1999

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PLB 0-7358-1052-4 Cinderella (32 pp.; $15.95, PLB $15.88; Apr.; 0-7358-1051-6, PLB 0-7358-1052-4): Perrault’s ancient tale of Cinderella has been slimmed and toned down considerably, with her virtues less evident and the supporting cast less effective. Readers will wonder why Cinderella’s father, who is not conveniently dead in this story, doesn’t rally to her aid, but they will be otherwise enchanted by Koopmans’s delicate illustrations. One good French touch comes at dinner; the prince is so besotted that “even when the most delicious dishes were served for supper, he could not eat a morsel.” (Picture book/folklore. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-7358-1051-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: NorthSouth

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1999

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