More a handsome first draft than a well-considered final product.

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SPEED MACHINES

Developer Miles Kelly presents a decent but curiously static selection of speedy land, sea and air vehicles.

“I feel the need, the need for speed,” said Tom Cruise’s character in the movie Top Gun, speaking the sentiments of the many, from all quarters of the globe, who simply wish to go faster and faster. This work does not explore the urge, but it does have a partial handle on the ways and means. From motorcycles to trains to speedboats to helicopters and supersonic aircraft, a couple dozen particular machines are presented in cutaways and profile, which can be spun about to look at the top, bottom and sides. Brief, boxed histories and associated “Fast Facts” come in great number, and there are inquiries called “Look Closer,” which explain altimeters, pressurization, Li-ion cells, fuel pumps, droop-snoots and other features of quick craft. A number of real classics are introduced—the X-1 and X-15, the jet-powered Bluebird boat, the Concorde and the TGV—though contemporary vehicles are given short shrift. The slide shows offer balance to the text but can feel too brief, and the videos are both terrific and disappointing—who really wants to watch a Flying Fortress sitting on the runway?—especially when they are not accompanied by sound. The presentation, primarily a flip-page affair, though visually attractive, doesn’t have a sense of energy, and reader involvement is minimal.

More a handsome first draft than a well-considered final product. (Nonfiction enhanced e-book. 10 & up)

Pub Date: June 15, 2012

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Miles Kelly Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 15, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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A brisk, buffed-up finish threaded with inner and outer, not to mention sartorial, changes.

THE TOWER OF NERO

From the Trials of Apollo series , Vol. 5

In this tumultuous series closer, Apollo, transformed into a mortal teenager, takes on both a deified emperor in a luxurious Manhattan high-rise and an older adversary.

Lester/Apollo’s coast-to-coast quest reaches its climactic stage as, with help from both eager squads of fledgling demigods from Camp Half-Blood and reluctant allies from realms deep below New York, he invades the palatial lair of Emperor Nero—followed by a solo bout with another foe from a past struggle. Riordan lays on the transformation of the heedless, arrogant sun god to a repentant lover of his long-neglected semidivine offspring and of humanity in general, which has served as the series’ binding theme, thickly enough to have his humbled narrator even apologizing (twice!) to his underwear for having to change it periodically. Still, the author delivers a fast, action-driven plot with high stakes, lots of fighting, and occasional splashes of gore brightened by banter and silly bits, so readers aren’t likely to mind all the hand-wringing. He also leaves any real-life parallels to the slick, megalomaniacal, emotionally abusive Nero entirely up to readers to discern and dishes out just deserts all round, neatly tying up loose ends in a set of closing vignettes. The supporting cast is predominantly White, with passing mention of diverse representation.

A brisk, buffed-up finish threaded with inner and outer, not to mention sartorial, changes. (glossary) (Fantasy. 10-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4847-4645-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Oct. 22, 2020

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Essential.

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THIS BOOK IS ANTI-RACIST

20 LESSONS ON HOW TO WAKE UP, TAKE ACTION, AND DO THE WORK

A guidebook for taking action against racism.

The clear title and bold, colorful illustrations will immediately draw attention to this book, designed to guide each reader on a personal journey to work to dismantle racism. In the author’s note, Jewell begins with explanations about word choice, including the use of the terms “folx,” because it is gender neutral, and “global majority,” noting that marginalized communities of color are actually the majority in the world. She also chooses to capitalize Black, Brown, and Indigenous as a way of centering these communities’ voices; "white" is not capitalized. Organized in four sections—identity, history, taking action, and working in solidarity—each chapter builds on the lessons of the previous section. Underlined words are defined in the glossary, but Jewell unpacks concepts around race in an accessible way, bringing attention to common misunderstandings. Activities are included at the end of each chapter; they are effective, prompting both self-reflection and action steps from readers. The activities are designed to not be written inside the actual book; instead Jewell invites readers to find a special notebook and favorite pen and use that throughout. Combining the disruption of common fallacies, spotlights on change makers, the author’s personal reflections, and a call to action, this powerful book has something for all young people no matter what stage they are at in terms of awareness or activism.

Essential. (author’s note, further reading, glossary, select bibliography) (Nonfiction. 10-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7112-4521-1

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2019

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