SIR JOHN HARGRAVE’S MISCHIEF MAKER’S MANUEL

Making a brave attempt to erect an ethical framework for ambitious pranksters, Web gagmeister Hargrave (Prank the Monkey, 2007, for adults) layers common-sense principles (“A good prank is easily cleaned up, taken down, or thrown away. This makes it harder for anyone to press charges”) with instructions for several classic gags, plus suggestions for easily available devices and materials to add to the prankster’s toolkit. Sometimes ignoring his own advice about safety, the author arranges projects in order of complexity from basic dribble glasses and telephone hijinks to, in later chapters, making exploding cigarettes or the world’s largest butt photo. Enhanced by lots of simple diagrams (as well as a helpful associated website) and packaged with an alternate sleeve to disguise the cover plus eight foldout recipes for such delicacies as fake vomit and tuna cookies, this compact vade mecum will thrill armchair jokers and may be taken to heart by a few of the active sort too. (Nonfiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: June 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-448-44982-1

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2009

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JAM!

THE STORY OF JAZZ MUSIC

A busy page design—artily superimposed text and photos, tinted portraits, and break-out boxes—and occasionally infelicitous writing (“Trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie became . . . bandleader of the quintet at the Onyx Club, from which bebop got its name”) give this quick history of jazz a slapdash air, but Lee delves relatively deeply into the music’s direct and indirect African roots, then goes beyond the usual tedious tally of names to present a coherent picture of specific influences and innovations associated with the biggest names in jazz. A highly selective discography will give readers who want to become listeners a jump start; those seeking more background will want to follow this up with James Lincoln Collier’s Jazz (1997). (glossary, further reading, index) (Nonfiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8239-1852-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1999

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1000 MAKERS OF THE MILLENNIUM

With an emphasis on Western “makers” of the millennium, and, perhaps inevitably, deep coverage of the last 200 years and fleeting coverage of the first few centuries, this volume offers brief biographical sketches of 1,000 people who had an impact on the last 1,000 years. Profusely illustrated and printed on heavy glossy stock, this is a coffee table book for children, meant to be dipped into rather than read from start to finish. Organized chronologically, with a chapter for each century, the parade of people is given context through a timeline of major events, with those of particular importance discussed in special boxes. As with any effort of this kind, there are surprising omissions (the publisher is creating a website for readers’ own suggestions) and inclusions, a Western predominance that grows more pronounced in the later centuries, and an emphasis on sports and celebrity that finishes off the last few decades. The selection can seem highly subjective and provocatively arbitrary, e.g., the US presidents from Nixon back to Teddy Roosevelt are all covered, but none after Nixon. Still, there is a clear effort to include a wide variety of countries and cultures, and this ambitious effort will be the starting point for many historical journeys. (chronology, index) (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-7894-4709-6

Page Count: 256

Publisher: DK Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1999

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