We have met the enemy and it is us. But unless humans go extinct and nature goes her healing ways alone, we are the...

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TRASHING THE PLANET

EXAMINING OUR GLOBAL GARBAGE GLUT

A taut overview of humans’ environmentally shameful impact on the face of the Earth—plus its subsurface and supersurface.

From the “first flush”—that is, when Los Angeles experiences its first cleansing (read: deeply polluting) rain in autumn—to the “twenty-three thousand pieces of orbital debris larger than 4 inches (10 cm) across” currently being tracked by NASA, Kallen describes in aching detail the abuse we humans have heaped upon our nest. Scattered with sharp, supporting photographs, the text is a litany of malfeasance: landfill issues, incineration issues, chemicals and plastics degrading everything they touch except themselves, planned obsolescence, the petrochemical fiasco, the two-edged sword of recycling—stores offer free e-waste recycling, for instance, the better to lure in consumers to purchase new products. He dots the narrative with boxed items of especial infamy, such as “Black Monday,” the day in 1943 when downtown Los Angeles smog became a blackout. The one misstep in Kallen’s otherwise strong treatment of the topic is that he is, frankly, a downer. The tone is somber, and while there are examples of people taking positive steps, there aren’t enough to counter the gathering darkness.

We have met the enemy and it is us. But unless humans go extinct and nature goes her healing ways alone, we are the solution, a message grimly driven home. (Nonfiction. 10-16)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5124-1314-3

Page Count: 104

Publisher: Twenty-First Century/Lerner

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2017

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THE ARABIAN NIGHTS

In a large, handsome format, Tarnowska offers six tales plus an abbreviated version of the frame story, retold in formal but contemporary language and sandwiched between a note on the Nights’ place in her childhood in Lebanon and a page of glossary and source notes. Rather than preserve the traditional embedded structure and cliffhanger cutoffs, she keeps each story discrete and tones down the sex and violence. This structure begs the question of why Shahriyar lets Shahrazade [sic] live if she tells each evening’s tale complete, but it serves to simplify the reading for those who want just one tale at a time. Only the opener, “Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp,” is likely to be familiar to young readers; in others a prince learns to control a flying “Ebony Horse” by “twiddling” its ears, contending djinn argue whether “Prince Kamar el Zaman [or] Princess Boudour” is the more beautiful (the prince wins) and in a Cinderella tale a “Diamond Anklet” subs for the glass slipper. Hénaff’s stylized scenes of domed cityscapes and turbaned figures add properly whimsical visual notes to this short but animated gathering. (Folktales. 10-12)

 

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-84686-122-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Barefoot

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2010

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A vivid mix of local color and tongue-in-cheek wit, albeit with loud sour notes.

HALF THE LIES YOU TELL ARE NOT TRUE

From a Labrador native, homespun “recitations” in equally homespun rhyme.

Written for oral performance (most are available as recordings) and easy to read aloud despite plenty of regional jargon, these 13 original yarns feature big dollops of wry humor. There’s fog thick enough to eat (“Mother used to dice it with pork fat and onions, / Or she’d mix it with mustard as a poultice for bunions”); the horrific consequences of trying to unclog a septic tank using a pump fitted with an old boat motor; and the experiences of a “Man of La Manche,” who is abducted not by aliens but Capt. Kirk, attempting to beam a moose up to the Enterprise. Recurring characters include 90-year-old “Super Nan,” who vanquishes a bullying polar bear at Bingo, and Uncle Jim Buckle. Paddon trips hard over the edges of good taste in “Berries,” a violent tale of a berry-picking war during which Jim takes a second wife, “a woman best described as Atilla the Hen,” after his first is killed by a land mine—but even that one comes to an uproarious climax, followed by an amicable resolution: “I guess blood’s…even thicker than jam.” It’s hard to tell from the small, roughly drawn figures in Major’s appropriately sober vignettes, but the (human) cast is likely all white. The glossary is extensive and essential for readers outside of Newfoundland and Labrador.

A vivid mix of local color and tongue-in-cheek wit, albeit with loud sour notes. (Verse tales. 11-15)

Pub Date: March 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-927917-15-2

Page Count: 88

Publisher: Running the Goat

Review Posted Online: Feb. 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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