JOE LOUIS

A CHAMP FOR ALL AMERICA

The sharp images and swift pacing of Lipsyte's (Michael Jordan: A Life Above the Rim, p. 1535, etc.) young-adult novels match his veteran sportswriter's knowledge in this biography of a boxer who became a symbol of African-American pride and, as Lipsyte shows, much more. Avoiding the bland reportage of most children's nonfiction, Lipsyte conveys Louis's story through rich, sensual detail. As the young Louis steps into a Detroit gym, Lipsyte depicts vividly how, amid the stink of ointment and sweat, Louis decides to study the ``sweet science.'' Yet Lipsyte sacrifices no balance for punch. Louis's every move in and out of the ring brought him the scrutiny of public and press alike. Blacks needed a hero, and many whites waited to see if Louis would, like his boxing predecessor Jack Johnson, turn ``uppity,'' enjoying high living and white women. Louis retained his integrity and identity under these and other pressures, and Lipsyte demonstrates that Louis was never fully the straight arrow whites expected nor the emblem some blacks needed. He was an extraordinary athlete whose consummate skill was frequently attributed to natural African physicality. Lipsyte writes: ``It was as if Joe had not trained hard to hone his skill. And the editorial suggested that his managers wanted him to be `a credit to his race.' What did that mean?'' Challenging, readable; this is a deft portrait of a larger- than-life figure done in refreshingly human proportions. (Biography. 10-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 30, 1994

ISBN: 0-06-023409-1

Page Count: 96

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1994

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The inevitable go-to for Percy’s legions of fans who want the stories behind his stories.

PERCY JACKSON'S GREEK GODS

Percy Jackson takes a break from adventuring to serve up the Greek gods like flapjacks at a church breakfast.

Percy is on form as he debriefs readers concerning Chaos, Gaea, Ouranos and Pontus, Dionysus, Ariadne and Persephone, all in his dude’s patter: “He’d forgotten how beautiful Gaea could be when she wasn’t all yelling up in his face.” Here they are, all 12 Olympians, plus many various offspring and associates: the gold standard of dysfunctional families, whom Percy plays like a lute, sometimes lyrically, sometimes with a more sardonic air. Percy’s gift, which is no great secret, is to breathe new life into the gods. Closest attention is paid to the Olympians, but Riordan has a sure touch when it comes to fitting much into a small space—as does Rocco’s artwork, which smokes and writhes on the page as if hit by lightning—so readers will also meet Makaria, “goddess of blessed peaceful deaths,” and the Theban Teiresias, who accidentally sees Athena bathing. She blinds him but also gives him the ability to understand the language of birds. The atmosphere crackles and then dissolves, again and again: “He could even send the Furies after living people if they committed a truly horrific crime—like killing a family member, desecrating a temple, or singing Journey songs on karaoke night.”

The inevitable go-to for Percy’s legions of fans who want the stories behind his stories. (Mythology. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 19, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-8364-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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GIRL'S BEST FRIEND

From the Maggie Brooklyn Mysteries series

In this series debut, Maggie Sinclair tracks down a dognapper and solves a mystery about the noises in the walls of her Brooklyn brownstone apartment building. The 12-year-old heroine, who shares a middle name—Brooklyn—with her twin brother, Finn, is juggling two dogwalking jobs she’s keeping secret from her parents, and somehow she attracts the ire of the dogs’ former walker. Maggie tells her story in the first person—she’s self-possessed and likable, even when her clueless brother invites her ex–best friend, now something of an enemy, to their shared 12th birthday party. Maggie’s attention to details helps her to figure out why dogs seem to be disappearing and why there seem to be mice in the walls of her building, though astute readers will pick up on the solution to at least one mystery before Maggie solves it. There’s a brief nod to Nancy Drew, but the real tensions in this contemporary preteen story are more about friendship and boy crushes than skullduggery. Still, the setting is appealing, and Maggie is a smart and competent heroine whose personal life is just as interesting as—if not more than—her detective work. (Mystery. 10-13)

   

 

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 967-1-59990-525-9

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2010

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