BURGER WUSS

Savaging young love, male adolescence, and—with tender attention to detail and wildly funny results—the fast food business, Anderson (Thirsty, 1997) pits a teenage doormat against a larger, smarter, nastier rival. Anthony, after seeing his girlfriend, Diana, making out with local stud, Turner, concocts an elaborate revenge: He gets hired at the O’Dermott’s where Turner works, then puts into play Turner’s beloved ’85 Olds and a fiberglass, condiment-dispensing troll from the town’s Burger Queen. Meanwhile, as he listens to his manager’s mindless boosterism on one side and a cook’s lurid accusations of corporate greed and hideous livestock abuse on the other, Anthony becomes Turner’s designated victim, a target for put-downs, pranks, and periodic assaults. His revenge works perfectly, and Anthony knows true success when Turner’s girlfriend asks him to confirm her suspicions of her boy’s infidelities. Still, Anthony is a hero, and so his victory is a hollow one: “I feel like I became what I hate most. But a clumsy, stupid version.” Ultimately, Turner beats Anthony to a pulp in front of costumed company mascot, Kermit O’Dermott, and a battalion of corporate big shots; Diana walks away in disgust; and Anthony, having lost at love, war, and employment, picks himself back up feeling more liberated than humiliated. Anderson plots this with the precision of a fast-food marketing campaign, but his hero is more human than high concept. Did somebody say McSatire? (Fiction. 13-15)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-7636-0680-4

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1999

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JAM!

THE STORY OF JAZZ MUSIC

A busy page design—artily superimposed text and photos, tinted portraits, and break-out boxes—and occasionally infelicitous writing (“Trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie became . . . bandleader of the quintet at the Onyx Club, from which bebop got its name”) give this quick history of jazz a slapdash air, but Lee delves relatively deeply into the music’s direct and indirect African roots, then goes beyond the usual tedious tally of names to present a coherent picture of specific influences and innovations associated with the biggest names in jazz. A highly selective discography will give readers who want to become listeners a jump start; those seeking more background will want to follow this up with James Lincoln Collier’s Jazz (1997). (glossary, further reading, index) (Nonfiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8239-1852-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1999

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1000 MAKERS OF THE MILLENNIUM

With an emphasis on Western “makers” of the millennium, and, perhaps inevitably, deep coverage of the last 200 years and fleeting coverage of the first few centuries, this volume offers brief biographical sketches of 1,000 people who had an impact on the last 1,000 years. Profusely illustrated and printed on heavy glossy stock, this is a coffee table book for children, meant to be dipped into rather than read from start to finish. Organized chronologically, with a chapter for each century, the parade of people is given context through a timeline of major events, with those of particular importance discussed in special boxes. As with any effort of this kind, there are surprising omissions (the publisher is creating a website for readers’ own suggestions) and inclusions, a Western predominance that grows more pronounced in the later centuries, and an emphasis on sports and celebrity that finishes off the last few decades. The selection can seem highly subjective and provocatively arbitrary, e.g., the US presidents from Nixon back to Teddy Roosevelt are all covered, but none after Nixon. Still, there is a clear effort to include a wide variety of countries and cultures, and this ambitious effort will be the starting point for many historical journeys. (chronology, index) (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-7894-4709-6

Page Count: 256

Publisher: DK Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1999

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