Eye-opening discoveries await readers who think wheelbarrows, eyeglasses, street signs, and forks have always been around.

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LANDS OF LONG AGO

From the Spot the Mistake series

Ten scenes from Neolithic Britain to the “golden age of piracy” are laced with anachronisms for alert young historians to spot.

With a pair of young tour guides (one white, one black) offering occasional hints throughout, viewers should have no trouble picking out most of the 20 howlers in each large-format, relatively uncrowded panorama, such as the jam jar, urban-style cave graffiti, cake with candles, and T. Rex in the Stone Age scene. Still, there are trickier details that will almost certainly go unmarked, such as the ears of corn next to that jam and a tiger painted on the cave’s wall. Fortunately there is a visual and explanatory key on each following spread. If the authors make a few specious claims (“No Stone Age man would have been seen draped in a zebra skin”) and point to the canoe rather than the generic Native American in the feathered headdress paddling it on the ancient Nile as the blooper, still their historical notes are reasonably accurate. Except in ancient Rome, human figures in Castle’s illustrations are uniformly tinted, either light brown or (more often) white.

Eye-opening discoveries await readers who think wheelbarrows, eyeglasses, street signs, and forks have always been around. (Nonfiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: May 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-84780-964-3

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

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A crisp historical vignette.

BEN'S REVOLUTION

BENJAMIN RUSSELL AND THE BATTLE OF BUNKER HILL

A boy experiences the Boston Tea Party, the response to the Intolerable Acts, and the battle at Breed’s Hill in Charlestown.

Philbrick has taken his Bunker Hill (2013), pulled from its 400 pages the pivotal moments, added a 12-year-old white boy—Benjamin Russell—as the pivot, and crafted a tale of what might have happened to him during those days of unrest in Boston from 1773 to 1775 (Russell was a real person). Philbrick explains, in plainspoken but gradually accelerating language, the tea tax, the Boston Tea Party, the Intolerable Acts, and the quartering of troops in Boston as well as the institution of a military government. Into this ferment, he introduces Benjamin Russell, where he went to school, his part-time apprenticeship at Isaiah Thomas’ newspaper, sledding down Beacon Hill, and the British officer who cleaned the cinders from the snow so the boys could sled farther and farther. It is these humanizing touches that make war its own intolerable act. Readers see Benjamin, courtesy of Minor’s misty gouache-and-watercolor tableaux, as he becomes stranded outside Boston Neck and becomes a clerk for the patriots. Significant characters are introduced, as is the geography of pre-landfilled Boston, to gain a good sense of why certain actions took place where they did. The final encounter at Breed’s Hill demonstrates how a battle can be won by retreating.

A crisp historical vignette. (maps, author’s note, illustrator’s note) (Historical fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: May 23, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-399-16674-7

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 14, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2017

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Fold down the drawbridge and step through. Mind the mucky patches.

LIFT, LOOK, AND LEARN CASTLE

UNCOVER THE SECRETS OF A MEDIEVAL FORTRESS

Flurries of small-to-tiny flaps give good cause to linger at each stop on this buttery-to-battlements castle tour.

It’s not all typical 13th-century feasting and fighting on display either, as opening teasers warn of 16 anachronistic items (among them a pair of boxer shorts), a lost treasure and a spy—or maybe ghost—to spot along the way. Castle de Chevalier comes equipped with a lord and lady, mail-clad men at arms and servants of diverse sorts. There’s also a well-stocked torture chamber/dungeon and, as revealed in cutaway views and beneath the diminutive die-cut flaps, thriving populations of bats, rats and spiders…not to mention the occasional detached head. The visit ends with a tournament, where tents, spectators and jousting knights can be viewed in situ or rearranged to suit with separate punch-out versions. Except for an arrant disconnect on the chapel spread, Pipe’s flippant commentary supplies tolerable if rudimentary bits of plot and explication. Though not so maniacally awash in microbusiness as the illustrations in Stephen Biesty’s Cross-Sections: Castle (written by Richard Platt, 1994), Taylord’s bustling cartoon scenes may well require a magnifying glass to make out all the detail. The same applies to the cutaways and Victorian-era rooms in the simultaneously published Lift, Look, and Learn Doll’s House.

Fold down the drawbridge and step through. Mind the mucky patches. (Informational novelty. 7-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 7, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-78312-081-9

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Carlton

Review Posted Online: Oct. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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