A book with a mission—its purpose, in some people's minds, could not be more timely nor more necessary. Like former Secretary of Education Bennett's Book of Virtues (1993) for adults, this is a collection of short stories, poems, fables, and excerpts organized into ten chapters: Self-Discipline, Compassion, Responsibility, Friendship, Work, Courage, Perseverance, Honesty, Loyalty, and Faith. Each begins with a brief essay; these are sharp and to the point. Most of the entries, from a wide variety of cultures and eras, have a sentence or two of nonprovincial context to make the link to the featured virtue. The selections are compelling and appropriate, by contributors ranging from the well known to the obscure. This is not a book to hand to children to read through by themselves, but for sharing in short spans with a thoughtful adult. Along with other readings, from the concurrent to the adverse, it could serve as a basis for an ongoing series of discussions among families or in classrooms. The virtues espoused, assumed to be objective categories rooted in common sense and in universal moral imperatives, are as perennial as the grass, and even if they have become buzzwords in today's political climate, the book is not just for the ethically challenged. (Anthology. 11-13)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-382-24923-2

Page Count: 384

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 1995

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Using baseball as a guide for dating, Beam, in his U.S. debut, hits a grand-slam. When seventh-grader Darcy Spillman becomes smitten with beautiful and popular Danalda Chase, he hopes to “get to first base” with her. Of course, first he has to ask her out, and Darcy isn’t sure Danalda even knows he exists. Normally, Darcy would turn to his Grandpa Spillman for advice, but Grandpa is showing the early signs of Alzheimer’s. Instead, he turns to the new girl, Kamna, who suggests that Darcy should try out for the Cheetahs, his middle school’s baseball team. That would certainly win Danalda’s favor. Unfortunately, when the two finally go out, Danalda lives up to her reputation of being superficial, leaving Darcy unimpressed. It turns out that it’s Kamna he’d rather be with. Using baseball terms as his chapter headings, followed by definitions, Beam has managed to write a story that is fresh, funny and appealing to lovers and lovers of baseball, both male and female. (Fiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2007

ISBN: 0-525-47578-8

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2006

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Wallace flattens the sophomore jinx in this taut, present-tense tale of an underdog high-school soccer team battling internal dissension, set in the same Pennsylvania town as his strong debut, Wrestling Sturbridge (1996). Friends and soccer nuts since grade school, Barry and Joey bring new life to a team that was 2-11-1 last year, but their relationship is undergoing a power shift. Joey's need to dominate is getting on Barry's nerves, on the field—where his reluctance to pass the ball is costing games—and off: He cuts in on Barry's pursuit of Shannon, a luscious schoolmate. The more the buddies drift apart, though, the harder Joey plays, and through a series of exciting games he takes the team to a climactic try at the local league championship. Meanwhile, Barry arranges to be alone with Shannon at a party, and Joey retaliates by getting him fired from the inn where they both work. The friends' rift is healed by an exchange of knuckles and twin attacks of common sense. Wallace's teenage characters—all involved in athletics—are drawn from life and mostly likable; adults stay in the background, but Barry enjoys an unusually close relationship with his savvy college-age brother, Tommy, a font of good advice. Thanks in part to occasional descriptive asides, Sturbridge takes on a distinctive character, too: It's a small, ethnically diverse, sports-focused town, limited in its opportunities but not as confining as it seemed in the previous book. Engrossing fare. (Fiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-679-88670-2

Page Count: 158

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1997

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