Wunderli (Blue Between the Clouds, 1992) turns on the afterburners in this wild tale of a mediocre junior high football team whose players propel themselves into the championship, fueled by anger, grief, and desire. With only two wins—and those were flukes—in the last couple of years, Wing, Sparky, Taco Bell, and the rest of the Olympus Titans have built a solid losing tradition, but the addition of a new coach and a crazed middle linebacker (dubbed ``Spray Can'' for his lisp) changes the chemistry drastically. Everyone suddenly discovers something to prove—particularly Wing, the narrator, who is watching with fury his once robust father die of cancer. A string of exciting victories ensues, capped by a glorious championship game and an equally glorious food fight. With its belching contests and other vulgar behavior, broadly drawn characters, and a hilarious, disgusting pregame ritual, this is not a story for delicate sensibilities, but Wing's relationship with his father is thoughtfully handled, as is the way he comes to terms with his rage and grief. It's predictable, TV-movie fodder, but unusually vivid, thanks to some strong emotions and plenty of action. (Fiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: June 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-8050-4713-1

Page Count: 182

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1996



Brimming with hero worship, the Doherty's account of ``the most well-known celebrity in the world,'' ``living proof that the American Dream [is] still alive...'' has an Algeresque flavor. Product of a small Austrian town, his competitive instincts honed by a demanding father, Arnold cast about for something at which he could be The Best and settled on bodybuilding (which he revolutionized), and films (for which he now commands eight-figure salaries). The authors cover the high spots of his career and business ventures, focus on his association with the Special Olympics and other causes, and dwell at length on his courtship and wedding (want to know how long Maria Shriver's train was?). Though mentioning his talent for self-promotion, they dismiss the ruthless Arnold of Wendy Leigh's ``unauthorized'' biography, offering instead a portrait of a giant with a sense of purpose, a heart of gold, and an impish sense of humor. Lipsyte gives a more evenhanded view in Arnold Schwarzenegger: Hercules in America (p. 1463). Source notes; appendices; bibliography; b&w photo insert and index not seen. (Biography. 11-13)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-8027-8236-1

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Walker

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1993


A canoe trip for two brothers becomes a race for survival in this latest novel from Dygard (Running Wild, 1996, etc.). Eric, 18, is none too pleased when his father asks him to help his brother Robbie, 11, earn a scouting award for paddling down the Buffalo River. But when Eric stumbles across a “chop shop” of stolen automobiles, he’s taken hostage and left with only the hope that his younger brother will come through and rescue him. Middle graders will find much to like in Robbie, an honestly rendered, annoying, anxious, and eager-to-please pre-teen. While Dygard weaves in plenty of information about canoeing and camping, it’s the common sense and quick thinking Robbie exhibits—walking, at night, to a nearby highway to get help without giving in to panic—that readers will remember. The car thieves radiate enough menace to make Eric’s peril real in this compelling story of bravery and family bonds. (Fiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: May 20, 1998

ISBN: 0-688-14852-2

Page Count: 171

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1998

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