First steps on the long and winding road.

FAB FOUR FRIENDS

THE BOYS WHO BECAME THE BEATLES

Four Liverpool lads determinedly dope out how to play their instruments and then make beautiful music together just in time for…Beatlemania!

Reich tells the oft-told tale one Beatle at a time—starting with John and ending with Ringo. She covers working-class origins, early love of rock ’n’ roll, learning how to play through trial and error (“[John] didn’t give a fig about wrong notes”), the formation of the Quarrymen, the watershed gig in Germany, and the release of the first singles. Gustavson (Sebastian Robertson’s Rock and Roll Highway: The Robbie Robertson Story, 2014) keeps his focus on the Fab Four (Stuart Sutcliffe, Pete Best, and “Mr. Martin” get name checks but no face time) and traces their visual transformation from scruffy amateurs to dapper moppets. Reich leaves them not only poised for greatness, having “poured hundreds of hours of sweat, love, and teenage energy into their music,” but also “best of friends.” It’s an idealized picture, especially considering what came after; Kathleen Krull’s The Beatles Were Fab (And They Were Funny), illustrated by Stacey Innerst (2013), covers the group’s entire career, albeit in a nostalgic vein. Still, young readers may be intrigued by this grand and archetypal tale, and the closing cornucopia of Beatles books, audio, video, and websites will also help to fill in the blanks.

First steps on the long and winding road. (author’s note, endnotes, glossary) (Picture book/biography. 7-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 18, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8050-9458-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: June 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

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26 FAIRMOUNT AVENUE

            The legions of fans who over the years have enjoyed dePaola’s autobiographical picture books will welcome this longer gathering of reminiscences.  Writing in an authentically childlike voice, he describes watching the new house his father was building go up despite a succession of disasters, from a brush fire to the hurricane of 1938.  Meanwhile, he also introduces family, friends, and neighbors, adds Nana Fall River to his already well-known Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs, remembers his first day of school (“ ‘ When do we learn to read?’  I asked.  ‘Oh, we don’t learn how to read in kindergarten.  We learn to read next year, in first grade.’  ‘Fine,’ I said.  ‘I’ll be back next year.’  And I walked right out of school.”), recalls holidays, and explains his indignation when the plot of Disney’s “Snow White” doesn’t match the story he knows.  Generously illustrated with vignettes and larger scenes, this cheery, well-knit narrative proves that an old dog can learn new tricks, and learn them surpassingly well.  (Autobiography.  7-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-399-23246-X

Page Count: 58

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1999

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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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