Shedd succeeds in his self-appointed task as public relations man for besmirched wildlife reputations, erasing the distaste...

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OWLS AREN'T WISE AND BATS AREN'T BLIND

A NATURALIST DEBUNKS OUR FAVORITE FALLACIES ABOUT WILDLIFE

Entertaining squelchings of wildlife humbuggery from former National Wildlife Federation executive Shedd.

It is time for our warped ideas of wildlife to be straightened out, declares Shedd in his engaging and conversational tone, time to weed out those heinous lies that keep us from communing on a deeper level with the armadillo, muskat, heron, moose, or bear. Shedd has not gathered a rogue’s gallery of sideshow freaks or microscopic critters, verminous or venomous, but rather a company of familiar animals that has been given a bad rap. It doesn’t take him long to point out that a red squirrels do not castrate gray squirrels, or that flying squirrels can’t fly, or that the moose is not very happy to be petted. Some of these myths surrounding animals surely don’t need to be debunked—that weasels kill for the love of it, for example, or that a crow can “imitate a human voice better if its tongue is split”—for it is hard to believe they were bunked to begin with. Others are highly subjective (toads may indeed be repulsive to some, contrary to Shedd’s assertion that they are not ugly), while still others are more in the nature of quibbles than errors (for instance, that a porcupine’s quills don’t have barbs but overlapping scales). So Shedd has some time on his hands here and he uses it wisely, more interestingly and valuably, to sketch quick portraits of these animals, some three dozen, yielding a primer on habitat, behavior, and the niches they have carved for themselves. He includes those little quirks that make them so appealing: how the eft got its name and why we call it a newt, when it is better to be a marten than a fisher, why the lynx has tufts on its ears.

Shedd succeeds in his self-appointed task as public relations man for besmirched wildlife reputations, erasing the distaste we might harbor for these otherwise captivating animals. (27 b&w line drawings)

Pub Date: June 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-609-60529-1

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Harmony

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2000

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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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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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