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This German import is an unsystematic jumble—but tailor-made for dipping and flipping.

From airplanes to zippers, a gallery of ubiquitous gadgets, products, and basic discoveries.

In an apparently arbitrarily ordered assortment of one- to three-page entries, Ameri-Siemens recaps around three dozen stories of invention, from Gutenberg’s printing press (1440) to the World Wide Web (1989). Though the inventors introduced are predominantly White, male, and Eurocentric, her choices include nods to a few African Americans such as Garrett Morgan (hair-straightening cream, automatic traffic light) and Thomas J. Martin (a type of fire extinguisher). White women spotlighted include Nancy Johnson (ice cream maker) and Jeanne Villepreux (glass aquarium) and, in an entry misleadingly titled “Computer,” Ada Lovelace, Henrietta Swan Leavitt, and Grace Hopper. Neglecting to provide any sources or evidence, she also makes questionable claims that, for instance, the Brothers Grimm were the first to record oral folktales in print and—hilariously—the Millennium Falcon’s top speed is only half again the speed of light. Showing the same hand wave–y spirit, Thorns presents an unidentified trio of Black women presumably meant to represent the “computers” of NASA rather than the much earlier ones at Harvard that the author mentions. Still, readers will likely look in vain through similar chronicles of invention to find the origins of, say, ramen noodles, soccer boots, toothpaste, or carbonated beverages.

This German import is an unsystematic jumble—but tailor-made for dipping and flipping. (Nonfiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: April 27, 2021

ISBN: 978-3-89955-133-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Little Gestalten

Review Posted Online: March 1, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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If Freedman wrote the history textbooks, we would have many more historians. Beginning with an engrossing description of the Boston Tea Party in 1773, he brings the reader the lives of the American colonists and the events leading up to the break with England. The narrative approach to history reads like a good story, yet Freedman tucks in the data that give depth to it. The inclusion of all the people who lived during those times and the roles they played, whether small or large are acknowledged with dignity. The story moves backwards from the Boston Tea Party to the beginning of the European settlement of what they called the New World, and then proceeds chronologically to the signing of the Declaration. “Your Rights and Mine” traces the influence of the document from its inception to the present ending with Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. The full text of the Declaration and a reproduction of the original are included. A chronology of events and an index are helpful to the young researcher. Another interesting feature is “Visiting the Declaration of Independence.” It contains a short review of what happened to the document in the years after it was written, a useful Web site, and a description of how it is displayed and protected today at the National Archives building in Washington, D.C. Illustrations from the period add interest and detail. An excellent addition to the American history collection and an engrossing read. (Nonfiction. 9-13)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-8234-1448-5

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2000

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An introduction to ancient Egypt and the Pharaohs buried in the Valley of the Kings. The authors begin with how archaeologist Howard Carter found the tomb of King Tut, then move back 3,000 years to the time of Thutmosis I, who built the first tomb in the Valley of the Kings. Finally they describe the building of the tomb of a later Pharaoh, Ramses II. The backward-forward narration is not always easy to follow, and the authors attribute emotions to the Pharaohs without citation. For example, “Thutmosis III was furious [with Hatshepsut]. He was especially annoyed that she planned to be buried in KV 20, the tomb of her father.” Since both these people lived 3,500 years ago, speculation on who was furious or annoyed should be used with extreme caution. And the tangled intrigue of Egyptian royalty is not easily sorted out in so brief a work. Throughout, though, there are spectacular photographs of ancient Egyptian artifacts, monuments, tomb paintings, jewels, and death masks that will appeal to young viewers. The photographs of the exposed mummies of Ramses II, King Tut, and Seti I are compelling. More useful for the hauntingly beautiful photos than the text. (brief bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-7922-7223-4

Page Count: 64

Publisher: National Geographic

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2001

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