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A NEW LOOK AT THANKSGIVING

Thanksgiving, the myth, surrenders to Thanksgiving, the real story, in this collaboration of historians, scholars, and descendants of the Wampanoag people. The original event, attended by 90 Natives and 52 colonists probably lasted for three days and was held for political reasons. The village, Pauxet, now called Plymouth, was empty of its Native people who died of plague and left their fields, stores of corn, and supplies of baskets and pots. When the English arrived, they used the materials and saw them as God’s providence. The Wampanoag interpreted their use as stealing. Nevertheless, a relationship developed between the decimated Wampanoag and the settlers based on the need for a military alliance of mutual protection against neighboring tribes. A gathering to celebrate the harvest was traditional to both peoples but was unlikely to be called Thanksgiving or to have a religious base. Neither turkey nor cranberries were eaten at the feast. Thanksgiving as we know it today evolved from this first gathering but hardly resembles it. This handsome volume is liberally illustrated with color photographs taken at the Plimoth Plantation with its staff in costumes of the period recreating the early days. Although the explanatory text indicates that the photos are of actors, the captions often do not, which may lead to some confusion. Despite this flaw, the story is well told and brings current scholarship to young people in an accessible form. A chronology, index, and brief explanation of the historical fact-finding process increases the usefulness to teachers and students. For another example on this same subject, see Kate Waters’s Giving Thanks (below). (foreword, bibliography, photo credits) (Nonfiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-7922-7027-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: National Geographic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2001

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JEREMY FINK AND THE MEANING OF LIFE

Years before he died, Jeremy Fink’s father prepared a box containing “the meaning of life” for his son to open on his 13th birthday. When Jeremy receives the box a few months before that momentous day, the keys are missing, and it’s up to him and his best friend Lizzy to find a way into the box. The search for the keys—or, failing the keys, the meaning of life itself—takes the two throughout New York City and into a spot of trouble, which lands them a very unusual community-service sentence: They must return treasures to the children, now grown, who pawned them long ago. This device brings Jeremy and Lizzy—both originals to the core—into contact with a calculated variety of characters, all of whom have their own unique angles on the meaning of life. Mass spins a leisurely tale that’s occasionally Konigsburg-esque, carefully constructed to give narrator Jeremy ample time to reflect on his encounters. It may be a subplot or two in need of a trim, and the resolution will surprise nobody but Jeremy, but agreeable on the whole. (Fiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-316-05829-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2006

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The car gets shortchanged, but comparing the divergent career paths of its (putative) two riders may give readers food for...

TWO MEN AND A CAR

FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT, AL CAPONE, AND A CADILLAC V-8

A custom-built, bulletproof limo links two historical figures who were pre-eminent in more or less different spheres.

Garland admits that a claim that FDR was driven to Congress to deliver his “Day of Infamy” speech in a car that once belonged to Capone rests on shaky evidence. He nonetheless uses the anecdote as a launchpad for twin portraits of contemporaries who occupy unique niches in this country’s history but had little in common. Both were smart, ambitious New Yorkers and were young when their fathers died, but they definitely “headed in opposite directions.” As he fills his biographical sketches with standard-issue facts and has disappointingly little to say about the car itself (which was commissioned by Capone in 1928 and still survives), this outing seems largely intended to be a vehicle for the dark, heavy illustrations. These are done in muted hues with densely scratched surfaces and angled so that the two men, the period backgrounds against which they are posed, and the car have monumental looks. It’s a reach to bill this, as the author does, a “story about America,” but it does at least offer a study in contrasts featuring two of America’s most renowned citizens. Most of the human figures are white in the art, but some group scenes include a few with darker skin.

The car gets shortchanged, but comparing the divergent career paths of its (putative) two riders may give readers food for thought. (timeline, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 10-12)

Pub Date: March 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-88448-620-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Tilbury House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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