An uneven collection in which too many parts read more like a journeyman’s records of where he’s been and what he’s seen...



A disparate, often disappointing collection of essays on place and time, enlivened by the inclusion of pertinent excerpts from the writings of E.B. White.

Root (English Language and Literature Emeritus/Central Michigan Univ.; Following Isabella: Travels in Colorado Then and Now, 2009, etc.) brings together 13 pieces of nature writing, 11 of which have previously been published in somewhat different form in various literary publications. The author is clearly a great admirer of White, devoting four of his pieces to that author. Unfortunately, his own writing pales in comparison to that of one of the masters of creative nonfiction. Root’s focus on the mundane details of his travels around Great Pond in Maine keeps his work from having the emotional impact of White’s account of returning as a father to a lake he had first known as a son. A similar problem occurs with an essay in which Root quotes liberally from White’s witty rhyming book review of Louis Bromfield’s Malabar Farm. Root tells of his tour of Malabar Farm State Park in Ohio and provides some history of the place and of its novelist owner’s ideas on farming, but it is White’s review in verse that stays in the mind. Root’s musings on time and place come into their own in Chaco Canyon and in the tides and heavy fogs of Acadia National Park, where the history of the land is preserved in the names of tribes and colonists. The author is even sharper when he writes about Florida, where the absence of clear seasons can delude one into thinking that time has stood still.

An uneven collection in which too many parts read more like a journeyman’s records of where he’s been and what he’s seen than the work of a longtime teacher of the art of literary nonfiction.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8032-3846-6

Page Count: 216

Publisher: Univ. of Nebraska

Review Posted Online: June 17, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2012

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This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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