POOP HAPPENED!

A HISTORY OF THE WORLD FROM THE BOTTOM UP

Readers who enjoy all things gross will find this foray into fecal history most appealing. Albee conversationally explores how the need for efficient sanitation grew with expanding and more concentrated populations. Beginning with the Roman Empire and its amazing feats of plumbing, the book chronicles the evolution of waste disposal in Western civilization. The author offers many stomach-churning details in the text as well as in sidebars about using urine to launder clothes and tan hides, horrible “filth” diseases, revolting hygiene practices and disgusting waste-related occupations. Her penchant for punny chapter titles such as “The Origin of Feces” and “The Age of Shovelry” will elicit groans from adults but will resonate with kids (when they do not go over their heads). The purple-and-green pages feature Leighton’s cartoon illustrations, which complement the playful tone of the text. The subject has been explored elsewhere, but this book’s approach is more cultural and historical than scientific. (source notes, index) (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-8027-2077-1

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Walker

Review Posted Online: Jan. 1, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2010

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The car gets shortchanged, but comparing the divergent career paths of its (putative) two riders may give readers food for...

TWO MEN AND A CAR

FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT, AL CAPONE, AND A CADILLAC V-8

A custom-built, bulletproof limo links two historical figures who were pre-eminent in more or less different spheres.

Garland admits that a claim that FDR was driven to Congress to deliver his “Day of Infamy” speech in a car that once belonged to Capone rests on shaky evidence. He nonetheless uses the anecdote as a launchpad for twin portraits of contemporaries who occupy unique niches in this country’s history but had little in common. Both were smart, ambitious New Yorkers and were young when their fathers died, but they definitely “headed in opposite directions.” As he fills his biographical sketches with standard-issue facts and has disappointingly little to say about the car itself (which was commissioned by Capone in 1928 and still survives), this outing seems largely intended to be a vehicle for the dark, heavy illustrations. These are done in muted hues with densely scratched surfaces and angled so that the two men, the period backgrounds against which they are posed, and the car have monumental looks. It’s a reach to bill this, as the author does, a “story about America,” but it does at least offer a study in contrasts featuring two of America’s most renowned citizens. Most of the human figures are white in the art, but some group scenes include a few with darker skin.

The car gets shortchanged, but comparing the divergent career paths of its (putative) two riders may give readers food for thought. (timeline, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 10-12)

Pub Date: March 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-88448-620-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Tilbury House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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One of those rare thrillers whose answers are even more scarifying than its mysteries.

AFTER ALL I'VE DONE

A middle-aged woman sidelined by a horrific accident finds even sharper pains waiting on the other side of her recuperation in this expert nightmare by Hardy, familiar to many readers as Megan Hart, author of All the Secrets We Keep (2017), etc.

Five months ago, while she was on her way to the hospital with an ailing gallbladder, Diana Sparrow’s car hit a deer on a rural Pennsylvania road. When she awoke, she was minus her gallbladder, two working collarbones (and therefore two functioning arms), and her memory. During a recovery that would’ve been impossible without the constant ministrations of Harriett Richmond, the mother-in-law who’s the real reason Diana married her husband, Jonathan, Diana’s discovered that Jonathan has been cheating on her with her childhood friend Valerie Delagatti. Divorce is out of the question: Diana’s grown used to the pampered lifestyle the prenup she’d signed would snatch away from her. Every day is filled with torments. She slips and falls in a pool of wine on her kitchen floor she’s sure she didn’t spill herself. At the emergency room, her credit card and debit card are declined. She feels that she hates oppressively solicitous Harriett but has no idea why. Her sessions with her psychiatrist fail to heal her rage at her adoptive mother, an addict who abandoned her then returned only to disappear again and die an ugly death. Even worse, her attempts to recover her lost memory lead to an excruciatingly paced series of revelations. Val says Diana asked her to seduce Jonathan. Diana realizes that Cole, a fellow student in her watercolor class, isn’t the stranger she’d thought he was. Where can this maze of deceptions possibly end?

One of those rare thrillers whose answers are even more scarifying than its mysteries.

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-64385-470-0

Page Count: 310

Publisher: Crooked Lane

Review Posted Online: Aug. 19, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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BYLINES

A PHOTOBIOGRAPHY OF NELLIE BLY

Nellie Bly’s life was full of derring-do and adventure. At one point, thousands of people followed her every move and wondered what she would try next. But mention this name to young folk today, and a puzzled glance is the likely response. In composed yet passionate prose—not unlike Bly’s own—Macy delves into the many escapades of this devoted journalist. From being voluntarily committed to an insane asylum for a story to becoming the only woman allowed to report from the front lines of World War I, Bly never shied away from a challenging assignment. It was her trip around the world in fewer than 80 days, besting the main character from Jules Verne’s popular novel, that made her a household name. Complete with full-spread photos, quotes, maps and faded-newsprint backdrops, this attractive package will appeal to young journalists and thrill-seekers alike. (afterword, author’s note, timeline, resources, source notes, index) (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-4263-0513-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: National Geographic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2009

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