CRUEL SHOES

When it comes to humor, it's the printed page that separates the men—like Woody Allen—from the boys. . . like Steve Martin. Without the Martin stand-up persona to project them, these 50 or so mini-pieces mostly fall flat—and the lack of variety is numbing. Stories, poems, anecdotes, jokes; whatever the form, nearly all of these bits are based on a single comic notion: deadpan, mildly absurdist parody. So: "How to Fold Soup." Or pseudo-existentialist parables. Or: "Dr. Fitzbee's Lucky Astrology Diet." Or parodies of artsy poetry, pompous art criticism, or the literati—all of which have been done better before, often in college humor magazines. And, without Martin's sneakily subversive all-American demeanor (his only inspired joke), one can't make much of a selection that reads in entirety: "La la loo de doo. . . . Oh gawsh. . . . Hey, buddy. . . . Hey, cumon back. . . . la la la la. . . . Dime fa a cuwa coffa? Hey. . . . la la la." Budding comics may want to use this book to find out if they have what it takes to read these whimsies aloud in a way that makes them funny—and Martin's young fans, who don't understand what most of the jokes are about, will probably enjoy it most. (Their parents, however, may not be pleased with some of the stuff here that could never be heard on TV).

Pub Date: June 15, 1979

ISBN: 0517330806

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1979

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AND THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON

This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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