JOE LOUIS

AMERICA’S FIGHTER

Adler and Widener offer a straightforward, beautifully illustrated biography of the legendary boxer. The grandson of slaves, Joe Louis Barrow moved from his native Alabama to Detroit with his large family at the age of 12. A visit to Brewster’s Gym kindles his dream of becoming a professional fighter. (He loses the “Barrow” because his name’s too long for an entry form.) After being knocked down seven times in his first amateur fight, Louis trains even harder, scoring a first-round knockout in his professional debut and earning the nickname “Brown Bomber.” The story covers his rise to the top during the Great Depression, including his victory over a white boxer; his dramatic bouts with German champion Max Schmeling; and his decision to join the Army. Another perfect marriage of words and pictures from an award-winning team, simple direct prose presents the facts while powerful paintings evoke both the greatness of the man and the glory of his achievements. Backmatter includes additional interesting facts about Louis’s life and the author’s sources. (Picture book/nonfiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-15-216480-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Gulliver/Harcourt

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2005

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THE FANTASTIC UNDERSEA LIFE OF JACQUES COUSTEAU

This second early biography of Cousteau in a year echoes Jennifer Berne’s Manfish: A Story of Jacques Cousteau (2008), illustrated by Eric Puybaret, in offering visuals that are more fanciful than informational, but also complements it with a focus less on the early life of the explorer and eco-activist than on his later inventions and achievements. In full-bleed scenes that are often segmented and kaleidoscopic, Yaccarino sets his hook-nosed subject amid shoals of Impressionistic fish and other marine images, rendered in multiple layers of thinly applied, imaginatively colored paint. His customarily sharp, geometric lines take on the wavy translucence of undersea shapes with a little bit of help from the airbrush. Along with tracing Cousteau’s undersea career from his first, life-changing, pair of goggles and the later aqualung to his minisub Sea Flea, the author pays tribute to his revolutionary film and TV work, and his later efforts to call attention to the effects of pollution. Cousteau’s enduring fascination with the sea comes through clearly, and can’t help sparking similar feelings in readers. (chronology, source list) (Picture book/biography. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 24, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-375-85573-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2009

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THE FENWAY FOUL-UP

BALLPARK MYSTERIES, #1

From the Ballpark Mysteries series , Vol. 1

A new series for emerging chapter-book readers combines the allure of baseball parks with the challenge of solving a mystery. Mike and Kate have tickets to a Red Sox game and an all-access pass to the park, courtesy of Kate's mom, a sportswriter. The pass comes in handy when it's reported that star player Big D's lucky bat has been stolen, as it allows them to help find the thief. Historical details about Fenway Park, including the secret code found on the manual scoreboard, a look at Wally the mascot and a peek into the gift shop, will keep the young baseball fan reading, even when the actual mystery of the missing bat falls a little flat. Writing mysteries for very young readers is a challenge—the puzzle has to be easy enough to solve while sustaining readers' interest. This slight adventure is more baseball-park travel pamphlet than mystery, a vehicle for providing interesting details about one of the hallowed halls of baseball. Not a homerun, but certainly a double for the young enthusiast. On deck? The Pinstripe Ghost, also out on Feb. 22, 2011. (historical notes) (Mystery. 6-9)

 

 

Pub Date: Feb. 22, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-375-86703-3

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 30, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2011

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