Subpar poesy aside, this woke ABC’s epic feats of representation prove wrestling is for everybody.

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S IS FOR SUPLEX

An inclusive ABC imparting essential squared-circle lingo.

E is for everybody, for people like me (and maybe you), who cry out with glee as the ref counts to three in a book that is long overdue! Over the decades, professional wrestling has earned—and deserved—a bad rap due to racist, sexist, homophobic, and otherwise bigoted storylines and gimmicks. Countless competitors have worked to recuperate the business’s image, and this alphabet book casts a diverse coalition of stars to define 25 wrestling terms in verse. Despite some stultifying stanzas—“G is for Gimmick / Every grappler is unique: / special clothes, looks, attitude, / distinct moves, and ways they speak”—wrestlers of all races, gender identities, sexual orientations, body types, and backgrounds come to life in its vibrant digital illustrations. Featured performers include the likes of Nyla Rose, a First Nations wrestler who recently became the first trans woman to win a world championship in a major American promotion; Sonny Kiss, an African American gender-neutral standout; “Big Swole” Aerial Monroe, an African American contender living with Crohn’s disease; and talents hailing from Puerto Rico, India, South Africa, Mexico, Japan, and many other countries around the world. A glossary provides succinct definitions for each vocabulary word and enumerates the roster of over 90 real-life sports entertainers who have graciously lent their likenesses.

Subpar poesy aside, this woke ABC’s epic feats of representation prove wrestling is for everybody. (author’s note) (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-9993886-4-8

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Trism Books

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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Only gnashnabs would cavil at this eximious display of lexicographical largesse.

BIGGER WORDS FOR LITTLE GENIUSES

More labial lollipops for logomanes and sesquipedalian proto-savants.

The creators of Big Words for Little Geniuses (2017) and Cuddly Critters for Little Geniuses (2018) follow up with another ABC of extravagant expressions. It begins with “ailurophile” (“How furry sweet!” Puns, yet), ends with “zoanthropy,” and in between highlights “bioluminescent,” growls at a grouchy “gnashnab,” and collects a “knickknackatory” of like locutions. A list of 14 additional words is appended in a second, partial alphabet. Each entry comes with a phonetic version, a one- or two-sentence verbal definition, and, from Pan, a visual one with a big letter and very simple, broadly brushed figures. Lending an ear to aural pleasures, the authors borrow from German to include “fünfundfünfzig” in the main list and add a separate list of a dozen more words at the end likewise deemed sheer fun to say. Will any of these rare, generally polysyllabic leviathans find their way into idiolects or casual conversations? Unlikely, alas—but sounding them out and realizing that even the silliest have at least putative meanings sheds liminal light on language’s glittering word hoards.

Only gnashnabs would cavil at this eximious display of lexicographical largesse. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-316-53445-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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A promising approach—but too underpowered to reach orbital velocity.

STARRY SKIES

LEARN ABOUT THE CONSTELLATIONS ABOVE US

Young earthlings turn starry skies into playscapes in this first look at constellations.

On a page first glimpsed through a big die-cut hole in the front cover, Chagollan promises that stars “tell a thousand stories.” She goes on to describe brief scenarios in which residents of Earth interact with 15 Northern Hemisphere constellations. These range from Benjamin’s battle with a fierce dragon beneath Draco to a trio of unnamed ducklings who use the Swan to “find their way home.” Six further starry clusters bearing only labels are crowded into the final spread. In illustrations composed of thin white lines on matte black backgrounds (the characters formed by the stars are glossy), Aye colors significant stars yellow, connects them with dots, and encloses them in outlines of mythological figures that are as simply drawn as the animals and humans (and mermaid) below. As a practical introduction, this has little to offer budding sky watchers beyond a limited set of constellations—two, the Big Dipper and the Summer Triangle, are not official constellations at all but classified as asterisms—that are inconsistently labeled in Latin or English or both. Despite a closing invitation to go out and “find these stars in the sky,” the book provides no sky maps or verbal guidelines that would make that actually possible.

A promising approach—but too underpowered to reach orbital velocity. (Informational picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-63322-509-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Walter Foster Jr.

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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