I FEEL BETTER WITH A FROG IN MY THROAT

HISTORY'S STRANGEST CURES

Disgusting and futile medical practices are always a pleasure to contemplate. Beccia, following closely in the spirit of The Raucous Royals (2008)—dry-witted artwork, conversational text, engaging historical detective work—asks readers to guess which “cures” may actually have helped a handful of ailments. Take a nasty cough, for example: Should you take a heaping helping of caterpillar fungus, frog soup or cherry bark? Common good sense will lead readers to wag their heads no when it comes to sprinkling mummy powder on a wound or drilling a hole in your head to relieve a headache, though some counterintuitive measures will come as a surprise success: spider web for an open wound, frog slime for a sore throat, moldy bread to treat a cut. The author provides intriguing background information on the cures—where they arose, why they were thought to be efficacious—and pulls more than one gem out of the nastiness, such as the property of silver to kill bacteria, giving birth to a familiar expression: “In the Middle Ages, wealthy-born babies sucked on silver spoons to protect against plague....” (note, bibliography) (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-547-22570-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2010

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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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Useful for discussions about women’s rights and political influence.

MISS PAUL AND THE PRESIDENT

THE CREATIVE CAMPAIGN FOR WOMEN'S RIGHT TO VOTE

In time for the national elections, the story of an ardent early-20th-century fighter for women’s suffrage.

Alice Paul was deeply committed to women’s voting rights, a passion inflamed in her youth when she witnessed her father but not her mother going to the polls. Reading in the Constitution that elections were open only to men, she schooled herself about suffrage and eventually joined the burgeoning movement. She organized parades, letter-writing campaigns, and White House protests, though her efforts failed initially. One attention-getting accomplishment was to steal Woodrow Wilson’s thunder when the newly elected president arrived at a Washington, D.C., train station expecting cheering crowds. Instead, the throngs were attending—some jeering at—a nearby parade Paul had organized. Even a meeting this nervy woman initiated with the president aroused little sympathy. The arrest of Paul and other suffragists during a protest—and strong support from the president’s daughter—finally convinced Wilson to urge Congress to pass a law granting women the vote. The simple narrative ably explains and arouses respect for Paul’s ardor and achievements. The cheery, cartoony illustrations, created in watercolor, colored pencil, and other media, show a generally smiling, white Paul in her signature floppy purple hat. Endpapers feature illustrated newspaper headlines that set events in context. Readers may regret the absence of a glossary.

Useful for discussions about women’s rights and political influence. (author’s note, bibliography) (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-101-93720-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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