HORSE SONG

THE NAADAM OF MONGOLIA

Visiting another exotic corner of the world, the well-traveled Lewins report on a stay in a camp of nomadic horse trainers, climaxed by a gloriously chaotic 14-mile children’s horse race during the Naadam—a summer athletic festival that, after the Olympics, is the oldest in the world. Mongolia may be thinly populated (getting to the camp required a long plane flight, followed by “eight hundred bumpy, roadless miles in a minivan”) but it is evidently not all that isolated. Some of the young riders in the bright, realistic illustrations are clad in traditional deels, others in jeans and T-shirts, while in one interior scene (of a dwelling properly called a “ger,” not a yurt) a modern teakettle shines amid beautifully painted furniture and elaborately patterned fabrics. Closing with pages of additional facts and observations, this sojourn will not only take armchair travelers to the other side of the planet, it’ll make them feel comfortable and welcome when they arrive. (glossary) (Picture book/nonfiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: March 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-1-58430-277-3

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Lee & Low Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2008

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DORY STORY

Who is next in the ocean food chain? Pallotta has a surprising answer in this picture book glimpse of one curious boy. Danny, fascinated by plankton, takes his dory and rows out into the ocean, where he sees shrimp eating those plankton, fish sand eels eating shrimp, mackerel eating fish sand eels, bluefish chasing mackerel, tuna after bluefish, and killer whales after tuna. When an enormous humpbacked whale arrives on the scene, Danny’s dory tips over and he has to swim for a large rock or become—he worries’someone’s lunch. Surreal acrylic illustrations in vivid blues and red extend the story of a small boy, a small boat, and a vast ocean, in which the laws of the food chain are paramount. That the boy has been bathtub-bound during this entire imaginative foray doesn’t diminish the suspense, and the facts Pallotta presents are solidly researched. A charming fish tale about the one—the boy—that got away. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-88106-075-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2000

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Plenty of baseball action, but the paint-by-numbers plot is just a vehicle for equally standard-issue advice. .

THE CONTRACT

For his eponymous imprint, the New York Yankees star leads off with a self-referential tale of Little League triumphs.

In the first of a projected 10 episodes based on the same number of “Life Lessons” espoused by the lead author’s Turn 2 Foundation, third-grader Derek turns in an essay announcing that his dream is to play shortstop for the New York Yankees (No. 1 on the Turn 2 list: “Set your goals high”). His parents take him seriously enough not only to present him with a “contract” that promises rewards for behaviors like working hard and avoiding alcohol and drugs, but also to put a flea in the ear of his teacher after she gives him a B-minus on the essay for being unrealistic. Derek then goes on to pull up his math grade. He also proceeds to pull off brilliant plays for his new Little League team despite finding himself stuck at second base while the coach’s son makes multiple bad decisions at shortstop and, worse, publicly puts down other team members. Jeter serves as his own best example of the chosen theme’s theoretical validity, but as he never acknowledges that making the majors (in any sport) requires uncommon physical talent as well as ambition and determination, this values-driven pitch is well out of the strike zone.

Plenty of baseball action, but the paint-by-numbers plot is just a vehicle for equally standard-issue advice. . (foundation ad and curriculum guide, not seen) (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4814-2312-0

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Jeter/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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