ON YOUR MARK, GET SET, GOLD!

AN IRREVERENT GUIDE TO THE SPORTS OF THE SUMMER GAMES

Brisk, broad, often funny…and more than just peddling the medals.

An overview of Olympic and Paralympic events, with notes on rules, history, special gear, and epic feats and fails.

After quick intros to the ancient and modern games—and a timeline of the latter that, in a spirit of optimism, runs to 2020—this handbook goes on to cover some 40-plus events or classes of event, including sport climbing and skateboarding, both putatively debuting in 2020. Each entry arranges quick bursts of fact, historical background, basic rules of play, and medal tallies of renowned winners around a large, stylized central scene showing racially and ethnically diverse competitors in vigorous action; occasionally snarky commentary adds a chuckle or two (Wrestling: “A combat sport in which two athletes in singlets roll around on a mat cuddling each other until one of them can’t move anymore”). Along with individual entries for goalball and boccia, which are exclusively Paralympic events, versions of each sport as adapted for athletes with disabilities get nods throughout. Despite a claim at the outset that it’s “all about the medals!” every entry also includes general advice about the hazards and pleasures of participating in each sport at any level of skill. Readers will come away with a good overall view of the summer Olympics, if not a complete tally—in sailing alone, as Allen notes, there are 10 to 15 races in each of eight different events—plus a look at 19 exciting sports or games that may one day be added, like break dancing or…well, bowling.

Brisk, broad, often funny…and more than just peddling the medals. (index) (Nonfiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1398-0

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Nosy Crow

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

OFF WITH THEIR HEADS

ALL THE COOL BITS IN BRITISH HISTORY

Fans of Terry Deary and Martin Brown’s Horrible Histories and their ilk are unlikely to consider this latest imitation more than an also-ran. Oliver surveys British history from the Isles’ Ice Age formation to the not-exactly-hot-off-the-presses 2005 news that London will host the 2012 Olympics. Though accurate enough in his broad picture, the author’s debatable facts (“…the Romans introduced really useful things such as toilets and even vegetables to the people of Britain”) and awkwardly written generalizations (“The Celtic kings consulted religious advisors to help them rule, known as druids”) drag the bland text down even further. Pinder's pen-and-ink illustrations attempt snark but too often fall flat: “That girl was always getting in my way,” remarks Bloody Mary as Lady Jane Grey’s newly severed head bounces by. This catalog of major British kings, queens, wars, pivotal events and cultural milestones is unlikely to entertain—much less resonate with—American audiences. (index, royal timeline) (Nonfiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-906082-72-7

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Buster/Trafalgar

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2010

Categories:

A LAND OF BIG DREAMERS

VOICES OF COURAGE IN AMERICA

Thirteen prominent American men and women are briefly profiled in this collection. Chronologically ranging from Thomas Jefferson to Barack Obama, each entry features an inspiring quote from its subject and a concise explanation of his or her context in history. Opposite each page of text is a watercolor painting by the author depicting an image or montage of the notable individual and illustrating the work they achieved or how they lived. Each one evokes the emotions the book is meant to inspire: courage, strength and determination. Franklin Roosevelt gazes reassuringly out at readers above a line of hungry people at a soup kitchen; Rachel Carson smiles at readers against a picture of a soaring bald eagle and an inset of her peering into a microscope. The selection includes four women and five male ethnic minorities. Almost all are familiar faces in collective biographies, including Abraham Lincoln, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks, but some names may be new to young readers, such as Emma Lazarus and Cesar Chavez. Included in the backmatter are thumbnail biographies of each figure and a list of source notes. The profiles are indeed inspiring, and younger readers will likely learn something new. For deeper research, students will have to look elsewhere but could use this book as an excellent starting point. (Collective biography. 8-11)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-8225-6810-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Millbrook

Review Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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