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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 Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2010

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A prolific reporter of paranormal phenomena strains to bring that same sense of wonder to 12 “transposed”—that is, paraphrased from interviews but related in first person—accounts of extraordinary experiences. Some feats are more memorable than others; compared to Bethany Hamilton’s return to competitive surfing after having her arm bitten off by a shark and Mark Inglis’ climb to the top of Mount Everest on two prosthetic legs, Joe Hurley’s nine-month walk from Cape Cod to Long Beach, Calif., is anticlimactic. Dean Karnazes hardly seems to be exerting himself as he runs 50 marathons on 50 consecutive days, and the comments of an Air Force Thunderbirds pilot and a military Surgeon’s Assistant in Iraq come off as carefully bland. The survivors of a hurricane at sea, a lightning strike and a tornado, on the other hand, tell more compelling stories. Most of the color photos are at least marginally relevant, and each entry closes with a short note on its subject’s subsequent activities. Casual browsers will be drawn to at least some of the reconstructed narratives in this uneven collection. A reading list would have been more useful than the superfluous index, though. Fun, in a scattershot sort of way. (Nonfiction browsing item. 10-12)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4027-6711-1

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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Mild amusement for armchair travelers, offering (as the intro puts it) “all of the adventure with none of the stitches.”...

From “Airplane Crashes” to “Whitewater” and “Woods,” an alphabetical tally of hazardous situations with (usually) a few coping strategies.

The sixth “Junior Edition” in the Worst Case Scenario franchise gathers abbreviated or rewritten versions of 63 natural hazards covered in the adult volumes but probably new to the intended audience. Each gets a spread of photos and lighthearted cartoons of young folk in extremis, which accompany briefly described scenarios, background explanations, general safety tips and common-sense behaviors. Not much of all this is intended to be seriously helpful—for one thing, the format doesn’t lend itself to quick reference, and for another, the likelihood of any readers running with the bulls in Pamplona, surviving an asteroid collision or encountering a gorilla in the wild is low. Furthermore, victims of sudden amnesia are advised not to seek medical help but just wait, as it’ll go away in 24 hours, a method of cracking open coconuts with a pointed stick is actively dangerous and the only suggested strategy for dealing with killer whales is to “keep your distance.”

Mild amusement for armchair travelers, offering (as the intro puts it) “all of the adventure with none of the stitches.” (Browsing item. 10-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-8118-7690-2

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: July 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2011

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