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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AT HOME WITH THE PRESIDENTS

At Home With The Presidents (176 pp.; $12.95; Sept. 24; 0-471-25300-6) Morris offers succinct biographical information and anecdotes about all 41 presidents with brief information about homes they grew up it, historic sites dedicated to them, or libraries in which their artifacts are housed. Included are small pictures of the presidents and some of the buildings discussed. Readers will find the book of limited use for research, since the sources for quotations are not given, there is no index, and material considered controversial is not attributed. Appearing out of context are statements such as “George Washington adored his older brother” and “George’s mother was jealous of the two brother’s relationship.” The information on historic sites is upbeat but bland, and could have come right out of tourist brochures. (b&w photographs, illustrations, further reading) (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 1999

ISBN: 0-471-25300-6

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Wiley

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1999

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STRANGE NEW LAND

In The Young Oxford History of African Americans series, a thoroughly researched, thoughtfully written history starting with the first Africans on the continent to American blacks during the Revolution. The subtitle, ``African Americans 16171776,'' is misleading: Wood (for adults, Black Majority, 1974, etc.) begins around 1500, with the emergence of the Spanish slave trade. From there, he traces the role of Africans in the earliest settlements in North America and describes the different policies towards them under Spanish, French, Dutch, and British jurisdiction. The rest of the book—illustrated with black-and-white maps, reproductions, and photographs—deals with the early history of American slavery, specifically with the institutionalization of racism. At the same time, Wood looks at the culture and everyday life of slave communities, illustrating his narrative with a number of intriguing biographies. While his selection of facts and figures is illuminating throughout, what makes the work a particular pleasure are Wood's inspired discussions; he ably links facts and puts them into larger contexts for readers. An obscure chapter in American history, rendered vividly. (chronology, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-19-508700-3

Page Count: 125

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1995

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