dent. As her career culminated in the relative
safety of the White House, she rubbed elbows with entertainers and top politicos.
Rosenbaum cleverly juxtaposes her past
and present, weaving her adult observations
with her wartime memories into a vividly
drawn, often tense drama. The result is a
Nothing Good Happens at . . . the Baby
Hospital: The Strange, Silly World of
Pediatric Brain Surgery.
By Daniel Fulkerson.
2016. 365p. Archway, paper, $22.99 (9781480839458).
This quirky memoir by pediatric neurosurgeon Fulkerson packs a punch as he recounts
his time in medical school, his early training,
and his hospital experiences, first with adult
patients before moving to the children’s hospital. Fulkerson describes scores of cases from
his long hours in the operating room, enlivening his narrative with skilled dialogue that
captures the edgy relationship between very
ill patients, their families, and the surgeons
and other medical staff. At times, readers
are peeking over Fulkerson’s shoulder as he
conducts complicated emergency brain surgery, scenes that can be graphic. The impact,
however, is softened by Fulkerson’s irreverent sense of humor, often conveyed with the
help of sly footnotes. (For example, writing
about his early training, he begins, “I don’t
like to brag . . .” A footnote then declares,
“Editor’s note: total lie.”) Still, nothing can
mask the awful sadness of a courageous six-year-old dying from an inoperable brain
tumor. Readers will need a few tissues to get
through this insightful, well-written, and often uplifting book.
By Brian Clary.
2016. 300p. iUniverse, paper, $20.99 (9781532007590).
A once-in-a-lifetime round of golf sparks
unexpected conflict in Clary’s entertaining novel. Ben Digby, 74, is forced to quit
one hole short of shooting his age while a
Montana blizzard bears down, ripping limbs
from trees. Word gets out about the Vietnam
War veteran’s unfinished feat, and soon he
becomes a celebrity, prompting the CEO of
Pitz-Smart (a Walmart clone) to capitalize
on Ben’s fame by pressuring him to finish the
round in the spring, with a local store’s backing. Although Ben, who blames Pitz-Smart
for his own hardware store’s demise, wants
nothing to do with the plan, he’s persuaded
by the company’s offer of a significant contribution to the local VFW. What follows is
more about the effects of big business on a
small town and Pitz-Smart executives’ lack of
respect for community traditions than about
the game of golf. The author’s deft characterizations will have readers rooting for the
protagonists, and golfers and general readers
alike will be caught up in the excitement.
Anyone who likes underdog stories will find
this a satisfying read.
pathetic characters and particularly strong
women. The novel includes occasional coarse
language and an ending some might question, but most will find this a thoroughly
How to Advocate Successfully for Your
Child: What Every Parent Should Know
about Special Education Law.
By Greer M. Gurland.
2016. 106p. CreateSpace, paper, $9.99
Parents of school-age children with
learning disabilities will find in Gurland a
knowledgeable special-education attorney
who, like a trusted friend, wants to make
their lives easier. Gurland’s legal background,
along with her position as mother of five
special-needs children, ages 6–13, gives her
great authority when it comes to navigating
a complicated educational system. To help
parents become better advocates for their
children, the author divides the book into
two parts: five lessons she’s learned, plus answers to a series of critical questions readers
might have. Gurland does an exemplary job
of avoiding stuffy legalese. She breaks suggested tasks into manageable steps, defines
a child’s placement options, and shows how
to document successes observed at home
for possible school adaptation. An appendix includes sample letters, checklists, and
instructions for setting up a record-keep-ing binder. Full of information despite its
compactness, this is one of the most readable and easy-to-understand books about
special-education law on the market today.
Also available in Spanish, it has garnered numerous honors, including four 2016 Human
Relations Indie Book Awards.
No Place for a Lady.
By Thea Rosenbaum and Chris
2016. 176p. AuthorHouse, paper, $13.99
In this memoir, Rosenbaum (with coauthor
Moore) masterfully recounts a life marked by
wars she experienced firsthand and saw later
as a journalist. The author
was born in Berlin in 1940.
Her mother and father—a
German soldier captured
by the Russians—reunited
in East Berlin after the
war. Postwar years found
her standing alone, at age
five, in long food lines and
collecting briquettes discarded in the rail
yard for heat. At six, she went to the countryside to live with her grandparents but
returned to her parents after repeated sexual
molestation by her grandfather. In 1962,
she married an American GI and journalist.
Following him to New York, then Saigon in
1966, she was hired as a reporter (and later,
producer) for a German news service, a job
she kept for 30 years. The book’s title echoes
a phrase she often heard as a war correspon-
Unpuzzling Finance: The Quick and Easy
Way to Learn the Basics of Finance for
By Zahoor Bargir.
2016. 141p. illus. AuthorHouse, paper, $15.18
Bargir, a qualified accountant and consultant, offers an excellent guide to business
finance for newcomers. The book’s goals are
modest: to help readers understand cash-flow statements, profit and loss accounts,
and balance sheets, plus offer an introduction to fixed and variable costs, invoicing
and accruals, and budgeting. The book de-mystifies the workings of these documents
by providing plenty of simple, realistic situations. In an ongoing example, a fictional
cupcake business gets started with loans,
incurs costs, and, eventually, produces income; Bargir shows how each event would
be recorded, and why. Each chapter contains
plenty of charts and offers review questions
to help reinforce the information. A glossary
is included for easy reference. Bargir’s tone
and delivery are perfect for engaging those
who might fear numbers or finance, and he
makes clear the reasons why anyone managing a business should be familiar with the
book’s subjects. Some Briticisms are used
throughout, but this has little effect on comprehension. Short, sweet, and direct, this
will prove a valuable resource for readers.
By Terry John Barto.
2016. 59p. illus. TJBKids, paper, $6.99
(9781944878276). Gr. 3–5.
Expanding on Barto’s original picture
book (Nickerbacher, The Funniest Dragon,
2015), this chapter book offers young readers a rich, imaginative tale about dreaming
big, friendship, and overcoming oppression.
Nickerbacher is not a typical dragon. He isn’t satisfied
with simply guarding his
friend and champion Princess Gwendolyn. He longs
to be a comedian, and news
that the popular TV show
The Late Knight Show is
hosting open auditions is the
chance he’s been waiting for. With the help of
bumbling but kind Prince Happenstance, the
friends set off for La La Land to make Nickerbacher’s dream come true. Readers are offered
more tantalizing details about the magical inhabitants of La La Land (including a phoenix
secretary and a leprechaun comedy coach)
and spend more time with the dragon, his
feisty princess, and their “fancypants” prince.
The lively black-and-white illustrations are
the perfect companion to Barto’s smart,
wacky humor. A rollicking celebration of
hope, Barto’s book will excite readers with its
rich, magical vocabulary, inventive story line,
and—of course—the laugh-out-loud antics of
a silly, starry-eyed dragon.