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Daedal Doodle

THE ABC BOOK FOR THE AGES

Trippy, creative, and thoughtful, this vocabulary book should awaken imaginations.

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An ABC book for all ages features the artist/author’s illustrations of unusual words in unexpected combinations, from “apperceptive achatina” to “zooid zeppelin’s zygote.”

Stabin, an illustrator with a long career whose work has appeared in publications such as the New York Times, Newsweek, and Rolling Stone, has designed nine U.S. postage stamps. His work has been displayed in the National Portrait Gallery. In creating ABC illustrations for his young daughters, the author kept finding “fascinating words” in the dictionary that he “couldn’t wait to illustrate.” In 26 alliterative phrases from A to Z, this debut book explains uncommon vocabulary with dictionary definitions and pronunciations, example sentences, and loopy, surreal drawings. These are mostly in black and white, but some include pops of color as well as photographed images. Under K, for example, the capital letter seems to be composed of some alien tubas, feather dusters, and a stepladder (readers can concoct their own interpretations as part of the fun). The phrase for K is “kaonic karakul”; “kaonic” involves certain subatomic particles, and a “karakul” is a kind of sheep. The main illustration depicts spheres and orbital paths, among which some sheep are jumping; one is bubbly, as if covered with atomic particles. The accompanying sentence reads “Kaonic karakuls are the subatomic sheep that physicists count to go to sleep.” As this example shows, the vocabulary can be challenging even for adults, yet the book’s witty playfulness invites readers in, as do the dynamic, spiky/swooping lines of the artwork. Some pages fold out for larger display, giving the book a generous feel. Kids will enjoy finding the acorns on every page except for F (because “fig fauns only like figs,” naturally). There are a few missteps; for example, “nucivorous” means nut-eating, not nut-bearing; and why not include a note about Daedalus under the entry for “daedal,” especially because Daedalus is mentioned in passing later under “minotaur”? The book’s second edition includes a FAQ, curriculum guidance for the classroom, and examples of student work.

Trippy, creative, and thoughtful, this vocabulary book should awaken imaginations. 

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2016

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KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON

THE OSAGE MURDERS AND THE BIRTH OF THE FBI

Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.

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Greed, depravity, and serial murder in 1920s Oklahoma.

During that time, enrolled members of the Osage Indian nation were among the wealthiest people per capita in the world. The rich oil fields beneath their reservation brought millions of dollars into the tribe annually, distributed to tribal members holding "headrights" that could not be bought or sold but only inherited. This vast wealth attracted the attention of unscrupulous whites who found ways to divert it to themselves by marrying Osage women or by having Osage declared legally incompetent so the whites could fleece them through the administration of their estates. For some, however, these deceptive tactics were not enough, and a plague of violent death—by shooting, poison, orchestrated automobile accident, and bombing—began to decimate the Osage in what they came to call the "Reign of Terror." Corrupt and incompetent law enforcement and judicial systems ensured that the perpetrators were never found or punished until the young J. Edgar Hoover saw cracking these cases as a means of burnishing the reputation of the newly professionalized FBI. Bestselling New Yorker staff writer Grann (The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession, 2010, etc.) follows Special Agent Tom White and his assistants as they track the killers of one extended Osage family through a closed local culture of greed, bigotry, and lies in pursuit of protection for the survivors and justice for the dead. But he doesn't stop there; relying almost entirely on primary and unpublished sources, the author goes on to expose a web of conspiracy and corruption that extended far wider than even the FBI ever suspected. This page-turner surges forward with the pacing of a true-crime thriller, elevated by Grann's crisp and evocative prose and enhanced by dozens of period photographs.

Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.

Pub Date: April 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-385-53424-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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NIGHT

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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