Bloodthirsty readers may be a little disappointed by these quick stabs at high-interest, if extinct, occupations.

HOW TO LIVE LIKE A VIKING WARRIOR

From the How to Live Like... series

A 10th-century Norwegian jarl’s son lays out the training, gear, and attitude requisite for a proper Viking life (and death).

Young Olaf Sharpaxe is visibly puny next to the exaggeratedly brawny brutes making up the rest of his father’s “hird” (warrior band) in Epelbaum’s cartoon illustrations but sports a comically crazed expression to make up for it. He describes the hard training, the camaraderie, how to choose the best weapons and armor, and life in the jarl’s hall. Following a quick description of a longship, he also supplies step-by-step directions for launching a raid, taking spoils, and, following his father’s death from wounds, how to bury a Viking chief. All of this, plus thumbnail accounts of renowned Viking warriors, Valhalla, and Ragnarok are capped by “Ten Vicious Viking Facts” to take away. For all the ferocity and mighty sword strokes in the pictures, though, there is nary a drop of spilled blood to be seen, and even in the narrative, violence is downplayed: brutal warrior Erik Bloodaxe “was lucky enough to have good skalds (poets) to put a better spin on his dubious deeds.” The co-published How to Live Like a Roman Gladiator is likewise all thrilling posturing with implicit, never explicit, gore.

Bloodthirsty readers may be a little disappointed by these quick stabs at high-interest, if extinct, occupations. (index) (Nonfiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4677-7213-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Hungry Tomato/Lerner

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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A sensitive, discussable access point for children learning about Holocaust history.

JARS OF HOPE

HOW ONE WOMAN HELPED SAVE 2,500 CHILDREN DURING THE HOLOCAUST

The brave work of Irena Sendler, one of the righteous gentiles of World War II, is succinctly depicted in this new picture book.

“There are two kinds of people in this world, good and bad.” As a child, wise words from her father gave Irena a guiding principle to live by and prompted the adult Sendler to find ways to save 2,500 innocent Jewish children and babies from the horror of their Holocaust fate. She worked with a network of smugglers and shelters to hide them in carpentry boxes, vegetable sacks, and laundry piles, transporting them to orphanages and the homes of willing Christian foster families, recording the children’s names so they could be found later and burying her lists in the titular jars. And when she herself was imprisoned by the Nazis, Zegota, the Polish resistance group, bribed guards to free her so she could continue her important work. Digital and traditional art in opaque dark browns and grays illustrates the sinister period and shadowy existence of these saved children. Roy’s chronological narrative concentrates on the period from 1940 to 1944 and stresses Sendler’s heroism; it also includes invented scenes and dialogue, marking it as fiction.

A sensitive, discussable access point for children learning about Holocaust history. (afterword, author’s note, glossary, index, source notes) (Picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62370-425-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Capstone Young Readers

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

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A lively introduction to the work of a Hebrew language scholar and lover—and his family.

THE LANGUAGE OF ANGELS

A STORY ABOUT THE REINVENTION OF HEBREW

The ancient Hebrew language enters the modern world.

In 1885 Jerusalem, a young boy named Ben-Zion cannot converse with the polyglot children of his age because his father has decreed that he speak only Hebrew, “the first child in more than two thousand years” to do so. The father, Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, is a Zionist immigrant to Palestine and fervently believes that Jews from every country, speaking so many different languages, should return to the language of their ancestors and of Jewish Scripture. Ben-Zion is not popular in the neighborhood; some consider Hebrew a holy tongue to be used only in prayer. The father persists and finds that he needs to invent words to modernize the ancient language. Thus, by combining the Hebrew words for “wheel” and for “a pair of” he creates a word for bicycle. Ben-Yehuda’s work leads to a network of schools, a dictionary, and the eventual designation of Hebrew in 1948 as the national language of Israel. Michelson’s account, based on history, is presented as a story with invented dialogue, which he addresses in his author’s note. Gudeon’s digitized watercolor illustrations, full of children, are lively and feature Hebrew words and letters as part of the page design.

A lively introduction to the work of a Hebrew language scholar and lover—and his family. (afterword, further reading) (Picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 21, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-58089-636-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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