Only fussbudgets and smellfunguses would reject this as bafflegab for sesquipedalians.



A razzle-dazzle roster of locutions sufficient to warm the heartstrings of any logophile.

Steering (to the disappointment, no doubt, of much of her potential audience) clear of curses and sexual slang, Lazar compiles a generous glossary of uncommon words that pack a big punch. Why, for instance, just wander around the mall when you can gallivant with a frenemy? Shop for gewgaws and gimcracks? Chow down on Frankenfood to keep from getting hangry? Digestibly, if often arbitrarily, arranged in small groups beneath broad sections like “G.O.A.T.” for superlatives and “All the Feels” for expressing highs and lows, each entry comes with pronunciation, part of speech, a one-line (usually) definition, and a sample sentence. Individual notes on the cultures or languages from which borrowed selections come are hit or miss, but the author does tuck in occasional linguistic summary charts plus, more often, sidebar etymologies, usage histories, and short tallies of anagrams, eggcorns, mondegreens, and like flimflammery. As further inspiration to level up in talk and texts, she closes by inviting readers to invent their own portmanteaus or “crashwords,” as did that unexcelled master of neologisms Roald Dahl, and see if any stick. Mayhall’s colorful and playful cartoon vignettes add to the fun and show human characters with diverse skin tones.

Only fussbudgets and smellfunguses would reject this as bafflegab for sesquipedalians. (index) (Nonfiction. 9-13)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-4926-9742-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Sourcebooks eXplore

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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Superficial but kind of fun.


Take a magic-carpet ride to far-flung and seldom-seen locations.

Readers can follow a young, pale-skinned, khaki-clad adventurer as they set out on their magic carpet to explore unusual, unexpected, and sometimes dangerous spots around the world. Locations visited include the exclusive interior of Air Force One, the remote depths of the Mariana Trench, and the (potentially) fatal shores of Brazil’s Snake Island, among others. Each adventure follows a uniform template, whereby the location is introduced in a sweeping double-page painting with an introductory paragraph followed by another spread of images and facts. The illustrations are attractive, a bit reminiscent of work done by the Dillons in the 1970s and ’80s. Alas, while the text correctly states that the Upper Paleolithic art in France’s Lascaux cave features only one depiction of a human, the introductory illustration interpolates without explanation a probably Neolithic hunting scene with several humans from a Spanish site—which is both confusing and wrong. Trivia fans will enjoy the mixture of fact and speculation about the various locations; a small further-reading section in the back points to more information. While the potentially off-putting choice of magic carpet as conveyance is never explained, there is a disclaimer warning readers that the book’s creators will not take responsibility if they suffer calamity trying to actually visit any of these places. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Superficial but kind of fun. (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-5159-2

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Magic Cat

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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How and when the Western Hemisphere, particularly North and South America, came to be populated continues to be both mysterious and controversial for scientists. Archaeologists plug away with the tools at their disposal but have “more questions than answers.” Harrison does a good job setting the issue in context. He describes the earliest efforts to identify the original inhabitants of the continents, exploring the Clovis culture, believed by many to be the first humans to reach North America. After clearly explaining how scholars decided that they were first, he then lists the arguments against this hypothesis. In the course of looking at both sides, he introduces young readers to “the strict rules of archaeology.” The author demonstrates the precise work of those attempting to understand the hidden aspects of human history and how many of these old questions are seen in the light of new technologies and discoveries. The narrative is aided by both photographs and original illustrations that imagine scenes from both the distant past and the field experiences. (glossary, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-59078-561-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2010

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