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The Bookwatch

Volume 18, Number 11 November 2023 Home | BW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Education Shelf Judicial Studies Shelf
American History Shelf Cookbook Shelf Business Shelf
Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Biography Shelf Interior Design Shelf
Autism Shelf    

Reviewer's Choice

1, 2, 3 with Mrs. C
Kathleen Covens
Koehler Books
9798888240182, $24.95 Hardcover/$16.95 Paper/$7.99 ebook

1, 2, 3 with Mrs. C: An Innovative Guide for Adult Interactions With Children comes from a teacher and mother of a handicapped child who provides insights and keys to interacting with kids in more meaningful, effective ways.

Whether readers are educators or parents (or simply adults seeking to streamline or improve their communiques with children), a wealth of examples, tips, lively discussions, and thought-provoking strategies lend importance and strength to any adult's intention of becoming a positive force in a child's life. Of necessity, this involves a good deal of self-inspection on the reader's part, which Kathleen Covens encourages. The book embraces the importance and incarnation of being present and centering intentions around this thought, encouraging tailoring experiences to build memories that support greater self-esteem and life skills.

Consider failure. While many a guide would promote avoiding such by emphasizing a child's success, Covens here remarks on the valuable opportunities to be gained from experiencing and learning from failures: "Children will need to experience failure along with success to master life on their own. Our job is to give them skills to cope with failure and success. Unfortunately, the word "fail" has an extremely negative connotation. When we hear this word, we tend to react negatively, correct? But failure can be positive in many ways. If we can see the benefits of failure and remove the stigma it carries, it will be easier for us to expose the value of failure in a child's life so they have the coping skills they need."

Parents and caregivers are not immune to losing sight of their ultimate objectives in child-rearing. Covens offers a broad range of exercises, techniques, and observations for getting back on a more positive track through methods that reinforce the importance of individual journeys of discovery and positivity. The case histories which liberally accent these strategies offer clear conclusions that adults can use as take-aways for analyzing their own ideals, motivations, and intentions in guiding children: "Without failure, kids do not learn how to cope, and the expectation to succeed is always present." The result is a delight to read. Accessible, involving, and worthy of book club and parenting group discussion and debate, 1, 2, 3 with Mrs. C should be part of any library catering to parents, educators, and those who would improve their guiding skills and relationships with children.

The Education Shelf

Different Minds, second edition
Dierdre V. Lovecky
Jessica Kingsley Publishers
9781849059244, $47.00

The second updated edition of Dierdre V. Lovecky's Different Minds: Gifted Children with ADHD, ASD, and Other Dual Exceptionalities compiles works that help identify dual exceptionalities and insights into gifted children's special needs. This continues to offer parents and educators a range of insights, options, and specific approaches to children with ADHD and autism, from diagnosis to meeting ongoing needs. Much has changed since this book's original appearance in 2004, but one thing has remained - the ongoing need for a reference such as this, which incorporates the latest studies about creativity, assessment, and growth strategies tailored to these kids and those who work with them. From suggestions for improving social communication skills to enhancing motivation and monitoring this group, a wide audience receives the concrete blend of analysis and application that makes Different Minds a key acquisition for libraries or readers interested in the latest insights into gifted children who also have special needs.

The Judicial Studies Shelf

Milestone Documents of the Supreme Court: Exploring the Cases That Shaped America
Edited by Paul Finkelman
Schlager Group Inc.
9781935306863, $395 (print); $365 (ebook)

Editor Paul Finkelman has extensive legal expertise, being a William McKinley Distinguished Professor and Emeritus at Albany Law School, among many other experiences. His editorial eye in Milestone Documents of the Supreme Court: Exploring the Cases That Shaped America thus lends to a reference that is expansive, authoritative, and should be a mainstay in any American history, civics, or social and political studies collection. The cases selected for feature here include the earliest from the beginning of America's republic to modern-day decisions about reproductive and human rights issues.

Each of the 81 critical decisions profiled includes an overview and context discussion, in-depth background history about its author, an equally authoritative analysis of the document and its impact, and a concluding bibliography of references for further reading about the case. Law students will find this attention to detail particularly well done, as each case receives exhaustive analysis and insights on its influences from all arenas, from political and social pressures to legal precedent and judicial interpretations of the provisions and special circumstances of each. Between arguments and acknowledgments to contrasting sides in each case, discussions probe both the legal and political impact of these milestone Supreme Court decisions, enlightening readers about the process of debate and consideration that the Court maintains as it oversees and cements the law of the land.

Readers will gain solid insights not only into each particular case, but how legal interpretations are formed, argued, and made into law in this country. This furthers Milestone Documents of the Supreme Court's intrinsic importance as not just a history, but an examination worthy of classroom debate and discussion. Library collections strong in American history, law, and political analysis will find Milestone Documents of the Supreme Court: Exploring the Cases That Shaped America a key to better understanding America's rule of law and how it is reinforced, interpreted, and guided. Very highly recommended, Milestone Documents of the Supreme Court: Exploring the Cases That Shaped America ideally will become a lively point of discourse for a wide range of purposes, from book clubs and American history groups to legal students and anyone interested in the letter of American law.

The American History Shelf

Nature's People
Tom Schaefer
Canoe Tree Press/DartFrog Books
9781959096535, $18.99 Paper/$8.99 ebook

Nature's People: The Hog Island Story from Mabel Loomis Todd to Audubon chronicles the long and special history of Hog Island, the gateway to Muscongus Bay's bird islands and its early role in the Audubon Society, serving as the Audubon Nature Camp for Adult Leaders in 1936 and establishing a role and presence in the Society for decades to come. Socialite Mabel Loomis Todd saved Hog Island from lumbering at the turn of the century, setting the stage for not only its preservation, but for the events which would place it centerfold in conservation circles. The history of Hog Island and the evolution of its use and preservation is, in effect, a concurrent history of conservation in America and the Audubon Society's role in using the island as a focal point of nature study.

Tom Schaefer crafts a lively account that embraces this movement from the early 1900s, linking Hog Island's development and the challenges involved in its preservation to how the Audubon camp was created, controlled, managed, and evolved over the decades. Extensive chapter notes and references supplemented by vintage black and white photos provide added value with documentation and insights that follow the social, political, and environmental challenges Hog Island posed to the Audubon Society and represented to the general public outside of conservation circles.

The result is a captivating, uncommon history that deserves profile in any library strong in conservation history in America, offering the depth and lively touches that will make Nature's People informative, engrossing and captivating beyond its intended audience of nature and history buffs. This translates to an engaging account that will find a home not only in libraries dedicated to conservation stories, but in general-interest collections where Hog Island and the Audubon Society need not be prior knowledge in order to prove equally attractive.

The Cookbook Shelf

More Daily Veg
Joe Woodhouse
Kyle Books
9781804190845, $36.99

More Daily Veg: No Fuss or Frills, Just Great Vegetarian Food is a companion to Joe Woodhouse's already-acclaimed Your Daily Veg. It captures international influences on vegetable cooking, offering modern updates of traditional vegetarian dishes to make them both healthier and more widely appealing. The grouping by ingredient allows vegetarian cooks easy access to dishes which work with seasonal availability, while easy instructions to re-crafted dishes such as Celeriac Puff Pie or Biang Biang Noodles makes them accessible to all home cooks. Facing pages of color photos add the inviting appeal needed to make these vegetable-based dishes attractive to a wide audience of both vegetarian cooks and meat-eaters looking for appealing additions to the table.

America's Test Kitchen
America's Test Kitchen, Publisher
9781954210141, $35.00

Gatherings: Casual-Fancy Meals to Share takes a different approach than many America's Test Kitchen titles, inviting cooks from their various departments to share favorite ways of entertaining family and friends at home. It arrives at a perfect time (when COVID isolation is ending and many are considering entertaining at home for the first time in years) and reinvents the notion of entertaining with meals and dishes cooks can produce that give them the freedom to attend their own parties. From Goetta (pork shoulder simmered with onion, herbs and spices, shredded and mixed into a loaf with steel-cut oats and fried until golden) to a Sweet Potato and Lentil Salad with Fried Shallots, recipes that lend to more than a few celebrants feature the hallmark foolproof testing of America's Test Kitchen, the personal comments of cooks who have successfully used these dishes to entertain, and the attraction that comes from comfort food that holds widespread appeal. Libraries and home cooks will find Gatherings easy to use.

Mitchell Beazley

These new recipe books should be on the shelves of libraries interested in expanding their collections of techniques and innovative approaches to cooking.

Sebastian Hamilton-Mudge, Natalia Garcia Bourke, and Andy Shannon's How to Make Better Cocktails: Cocktail Techniques, Pro-Tips and Recipes (9780600637943, $19.98) is recommended for those with some prior experience in cocktails who are looking to expand their repertoires. It covers not only recipes, but basic insights on how superior cocktails are created, discussing balance, dilution, and foaming. Some 70 classic and unique recipes are profiled in an attraction for any cocktail drinker who would become a drinks creator.

Blanche Vaughan's A Year in the Kitchen: Seasonal Recipes for Everyday Pleasure (9781784728953, $44.99) excels in colorful full-page photos paired with recipes that will attract a wide audience. From Boneless Chicken with Lemon and Thyme Salt to Baked Pumpkin Soup and Warming Madagascan Curry with Coconut Rice, these seasonal dishes are replete in international influences and produce-based ingredients, perfect for seasonal cooking that embraces the harvests of the year.

The Business Shelf

Game Changer: How Strategic Pricing Will Reshape Your Business, Your Market, and Society
Jean-Manuel Izaret and Arnab Sinha
9781394190584, $45.00

Business readers who choose Game Changer: How Strategic Pricing Will Reshape Your Business, Your Market, and Society will find its analysis and suggestions for a comprehensive pricing strategy to be attractive not because it's a succinct overview, but because of its depth of attention to business details and comprehensive methodology. Of necessity, this means that Game Changer is recommended more for the future-thinking executive or entrepreneur who seeks to craft a vision paired with practicality about developing a logical frameworks for pricing (here called 'The Strategic Pricing Hexagon') than those looking for quick how-to reading. This depth is emphasized in chapters that encourage not only rethinking existing pricing strategies, but identifying ways they fail long-term.

The book demonstrates how to create a winning game plan for transitioning existing pricing approaches to decisions based on a vastly revised application of unilateral moves that take competition and internal business frameworks into consideration. From assessing the modern role of supply and demand and the "failure of the aggregate supply and demand curve" to better understanding traditional and non-traditional applications of pricing decisions, Game Changer ultimately presents a major opportunity to business readers - to reinvent the wheel of pricing strategies based on value-driven approaches. This principle (and others within) may feel ethereal, but another big 'plus' to this examination lies in its many case histories of real-world business stories, which profile companies that took a game-changing risk and ran with it successfully. From specific transformation challenges that affect different departments in a corporate structure to reviews of key takeaways to each account of successful alternatives, Jean-Manuel Izaret and Arnab Sinha reinforce their survey at all points and in different ways to show just how pricing strategy revision affects and challenges all levels of business.

Offering training and incentives, challenging established market pricing and strategies, and analyzing customer life cycles and how to fine-tune value throughout changing circumstances, Game Changer continually recalibrates the formula for maximum success. It provides practical insights and applications that business leaders will find enlightening and essential when building their own pricing strategy adaptations. How is value created, transmitted, and fine-tuned? These and other questions are answered in a wide-ranging yet specific approach that is highly recommended for business leaders who know they need to reinvent their company's approaches to pricing strategy, value, and frameworks leading to long-term success. Business library collections seeking a major contribution on the topic of strategic pricing will appreciate the scope and depth of Game Changer, which elevates it from another business book to a major lexicon of well-developed pricing approach strategies.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Eric James Fullilove
Atmosphere Press
9781639889617, $18.99

Overlord is set in the near future and postulates a scenario in which climate change is not a future possibility, but an immediate reality. In this world, rising seas not only lead to mass evacuations due to melting polar ice and a concurrent drop in the North American tectonic plate, but challenge the efforts and survival of salvager Madison Cervantes and her crew, who are trying to put out an oil rig fire that threatens to ignite the entire Gulf. There are monsters in the water, there's fire in the air, and impossible trials stem from nature which lead to literally being caught between the devil and the deep blue sea as a damaged ecosystem fights back. Other characters also struggle with vastly changed conditions - even survivors such as Devin "Reaper" Delacorte, whose Cleveland roots and military stint both lend to traits that make him a valuable team player.

Eric James Fullilove tackles social as well as climate change issues in his story. These are embedded in each character's background and reactions to threat. Set in 2028 and charged with the social and political turmoil that buffet the world in the wake of repeated climate disasters, Overlord features a tone of familiarity to current conditions and times that makes it a realistic sci-fi exploration cli-fi fans will find attractive. As political and social strife ignite, readers are presented with thought-provoking confrontations between and within people that lead to especially vivid scenarios of transformation, survival, and demise.

The nonstop action juxtaposes nicely with richer questions posed by such impacts, making for a story in which characters from disparate backgrounds find themselves both united and (in other circumstances) divided by the forces of nature that emerge from the background to take center stage in their survival attempts. The result is a grim, heart-grabbing story of the impact of climate change on many levels. Overlord will more than engage readers and libraries interested in cli-fi that makes them think about choices, the future, and the role climate plays in ordinary and extraordinary human affairs.

The Biography Shelf

Free Spirit
Tanya Sarne
Mitchell Beazley/Octopus Publishing
9781784728465, $26.99

Free Spirit: A Memoir of a Extraordinary Life tells of the successes and challenges of author Tanya Sarne's life. The founder of Ghost, Sarne is best known for the entrepreneurial fashion sense which led to her success and fame - but her story is so much more than that of building a business. It captures the milieu of the 1960s and 70s fashion world, rubs elbows with artists in other genres, reveals some close calls (as when she was invited to stay with Sharon Tate the night of the Manson murders), and presents a vivid globe-hopping story of growth and discovery which is absolutely riveting. Black and white photos of Ghost models and creations pair well with personal images of her life, adding visual flavor and value to a story highly recommended for any library strong in memoirs, the arts, and women's experiences.

Dancing On Eggshells
John Whaite
Kyle Books
9781804191491, $29.99

Dancing On Eggshells: Kitchen, Ballroom & the Messy Inbetween is a dance memoir written by the third-series winner of The Great British Bake Off and runner up to Strictly Come Dancing with his same-sex dancing partner, and offers many flavors memoirs typically don't embrace under one cover. John Whaite came out on Bake Off, but before that event he struggled with bulimia, mental health challenges, and his parents' separation. It's unusual to see a book that blends food and cultural focuses with insights on gay people and baking alike, but Dancing on Eggshells hold the unusual ability to bring a wide range of seemingly disparate subjects together under one cover. That it does so in a lively tone that considers changing relationship influences, growth, and personal and professional transformation alike is tribute to its special blend of recipes, competition stories, and emotional examination. Dancing on Eggshells should be in any library strong in gay memoirs, culinary experiences, and psychological growth.

The Interior Design Shelf

Farrow & Ball How to Redecorate
Joa Studholme & Charlotte Cosby
Mitchell Beazley/Octopus Publishing
9781784728991, $44.99

Farrow & Ball How to Redecorate follows the previous success How to Decorate with a new focus on redecorating possibilities. Over three hundred photos and illustrations accompany practical advice on handling colors, building themes and logical pairings of interior design, and 'how to' instructions that are quite specific, such as how to paint a paneled door in three colors. Full-page color photos accompany these insights and efforts to provide clarity to discussions that cover everything from using cornices and mouldings to understanding how architectural neutrals can reinforce the desired industrial feel of a home. In short, Farrow & Ball How to Redecorate should be the first step used by a potential designer or renovator. Thus, it should be in any library that appeals to homeowners, interior designers, and those who would redecorate with a more informed attention to modern trends and appearances.

The Autism Shelf

Planning Your Career Through Intense Interests: A Guide for Autistic People
Yenn Purkis and Barb Cook
Jessica Kingsley Publishers
9781839973529, $17.95

Yenn Purkis and Barb Cook's Planning Your Career Through Intense Interests: A Guide for Autistic People is a practical resource for autistic teens who are facing transitions to work or higher education opportunities. It pairs practical advice with real-life examples to help those on the spectrum plan a career around their special interests and abilities. From ascertaining personal strengths and presenting these in a positive light to identifying support needs, crafting a support plan around them, and understanding new kinds of relationships as they develop at work and in school, Planning Your Career Through Intense Interests offers hope, opportunity, and specific game plans that are fine-tuned with the autistic reader in mind. The resulting set of guidelines and insights should be in any collection reaching autistic young people who have an eye on their future goals and possibilities.

James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Diane C. Donovan, Editor
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive
Oregon, WI 53575-1129
phone: 1-608-835-7937

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