Flows quite nicely indeed: a first from freelancer Pierce. (Illustrations)



Eight centuries of British history from the vantage point of a structure that first spanned the Thames in 1176 and was rebuilt twice before being exiled, in 1968, to Lake Havasu, Arizona.

The first thing our mothers taught us isn’t so: London Bridge didn’t really fall down. It was certainly subject to the vicissitudes of fire, tempest, riot, and finally old age, but the great bridge with its 19 piers and 20 arches stood as a wonder through the days of the Plantagenets, Lancasters, Yorks, Tudors, Stuarts, and Hanovers. From Southwark to the City and back, the river that flowed quickly beneath carried Hogarth, Dickens, Jack Cade, Dick Whittington, Henry V, Elizabeth I, Samuel Pepys, and multitudes of Londoners and visitors. Rented residences and shops clung to both sides of the span. Chandlers, fishmongers, booksellers, butchers, and haberdashers made the path into a genuine strip mall, customarily managed by a self-regulating authority much like that of the New Jersey Turnpike. Tolls were collected from pedestrians and conveyances at various rates. At one time, the Clerk of the Drawbridge employed six carpenters, four masons, two sawyers, one mariner, one cook, a couple of rent collectors, and a rat catcher. Keeping traffic to the left (at the time a unique idea) occupied three traffic cops. Unusual events, crime, accidents, pageantry, and a superlative joust took place on the overpass, and for many years the severed heads of miscreants were displayed there on pikes. Thames watermen and swans negotiated the swirling offal and sewage dropped from buildings lining the old passage. In 1762, in a fit of urban renewal, the houses and shops were razed and the roadway widened. Not even 70 years later the demolition of the bridge itself began. The next London Bridge lasted until 1968, when it was sold to the Yanks.

Flows quite nicely indeed: a first from freelancer Pierce. (Illustrations)

Pub Date: May 15, 2003

ISBN: 0-7472-3493-0

Page Count: 344

Publisher: Headline

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2003

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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