The plays are really the thing, but these concise and often hilarious takes offer tantalizing hints of their enduring value,...

READ REVIEW

POP-UP SHAKESPEARE

Is it possible for one not-very-large volume to contain pop-up summaries of the Bard’s every play and poem, with representative scenes, settings, quotes, and historical notes?

Leave it to the managing partners of the Reduced Shakespeare Company to manage the deed—with plenty of help from Maizels (Pop-Up New York, 2014, etc.). She places brightly costumed actors (all white except for Othello) on both sides of numerous flaps and pop-up forests, tempests, and throne rooms while somehow preserving gaps to rest the eye and leaving space for the snarky commentary. The fast-break literary tour begins with a spread of general background, including a stand-up model of the Globe (the immolation of which while hosting Henry VIII resulted in “the only exciting performance of that play ever”), then goes on to devote successive spreads to the comedies, histories, romances (including sonnets and other poetry), and tragedies. Each work comes with an opinionated summary of its plot and major themes, plus a summary of the summary—“Much ado leads to much ‘I do!’ ”; “The couple that slays together stays together”—snatches of more-or-less actual dialogue, and a famous line or two. Broader themes, from all the cross-dressing in the plays and the notion of “comic relief” to the anti-Semitism in Merchant of Venice, rate mentions. There’s even an entry for the lost play Cardenio.

The plays are really the thing, but these concise and often hilarious takes offer tantalizing hints of their enduring value, along with their content. (Informational pop-up. 12-adult)

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9874-4

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2017

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Appealing, accessible stories for teens interested in the arts that will tempt them to become avid readers.

RAW TALENT

From the Orca Limelights series

Paisley McFarland is a freshman in high school who loves to sing but has horrible stage fright in this entry in a performing-arts themed series for reluctant readers.

When a local farm announces a talent show fundraiser, Paisley signs up to sing, but will she be able to pull it off? Like many young people, Paisley is also fighting her mother’s expectations of what she “should” be doing—in her case, singing classical choir pieces rather than pop music. Her best friend, Jasmeer Sharma-Smith, believes in her and convinces the famous actress and singer Maxine Gaston to coach Paisley and help with her performance anxiety. Her private lessons help give her the confidence to go onstage at the upcoming event, but Paisley also has to deal with bullying from Cadence Wang, another student singer. Much like in real life, the negative behavior is not neatly resolved. Paisley is implied white; diversity is indicated through characters’ names. In Offbeat by Megan Clendenan, Rose Callaghan is a Celtic fiddle player who hopes to win a folk festival competition in order to prove to her lawyer mother how serious she is about music she loves rather than the classical music her mother wants her to play. Things go awry when her special violin, left to her by her deceased father, breaks—will she still be able to perform well? The book follows a white default.

Appealing, accessible stories for teens interested in the arts that will tempt them to become avid readers. (Fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4598-1834-7

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: June 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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Solidly drawn, both on and off the court.

THE SIXTH MAN

From the Triple Threat series , Vol. 2

"Triple threat" Alex Myers turns his attention from football to basketball in this middle volume (The Walk On, 2014).

Alex's journey through basketball season is initially episodic. First, Alex and his teammate Jonas Ellington are forced to play junior varsity because gruff Coach Archer doesn't see football commitments as valid reasons for missing basketball practice. When they finally do join the varsity team, the boys—both freshmen—easily outplay their senior teammates, causing resentment. Meanwhile, Alex shyly courts Christine Whitford, a tenacious reporter for the school newspaper, and deals with the fallout from his parents' divorce, including a budding romance between Coach Archer and Alex's mom. When Max Bellotti, a transfer student whose own parents are divorcing, arrives midseason, the team finally has enough skilled players to be competitive. The story coalesces around Max's disclosure—first to Alex, Jonas, and Christine, and later to the general public—that he is gay. In contrast to older teen sports coming-out stories (Bill Konigsberg's 2008 Out of the Pocket, for example), the team stands largely united behind Max. In fact, some of Alex's retorts to nosy outsiders' questions read like a tutorial for supporting someone who is coming out. Woven into these many interpersonal story arcs are suspenseful and well-dramatized sports action scenes.

Solidly drawn, both on and off the court. (Fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-75350-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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