An eye-catching title sure to dazzle.

DAZZLE SHIPS

WORLD WAR I AND THE ART OF CONFUSION

During World War I, British and American ships were painted in ways meant to deceive German U-boat crews.

Submarine attacks were becoming a problem, and the British and Americans needed a plan to save their ships. Norman Wilkinson of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve came up with a new idea: camouflage. Obviously, they couldn’t make the ships invisible, but maybe they could paint them in a way that would confuse submarine officers and make it difficult to determine which way a ship was heading and how fast—important since torpedoes were fired not at the ship but at the spot where the ship would soon be. In 1917, ships were “dazzle-painted,” or painted in “crazy” designs meant to confuse. Ngai uses analog and digital media to great effect, from the dazzling cover (which will attract many readers all by itself) to the range of designs employed, applying an appropriate period aesthetic throughout. Readers, however, may not quite see the genius, since, in most illustrations, it’s pretty clear which direction the ships are heading, and the perspective from German periscopes is lacking. And, by war’s end, the Royal Navy couldn’t prove that dazzle had spared any ships, which may sink enthusiasm for the story. Still, it’s a fascinating volume about a little-known side of the war.

An eye-catching title sure to dazzle. (author’s note, illustrator’s note, timeline, further reading) (Informational picture book. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5124-1014-3

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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Visually attractive but cursory.

GREAT STREETS OF THE WORLD

FROM LONDON TO SAN FRANCISCO

Readers are invited to wander Regent Street in London, La Rambla in Barcelona, Rynok Square in Lviv, Ukraine, and Hàng Bac in Hanoi, among others.

A well-traveled adult or even an armchair traveler may appreciate the lively sketches, emphasizing the architecture, transportation, and crowds in these busy urban sites. Will children? Perhaps not, despite the inclusion of some unusual global locales, such as the Rue de Bougounni, a large marketplace in Bamako, Mali, and Hatogaya, in Shirakawa, Japan, a historic street with “sloping, thatched roofs [that] prevent snow from piling up on top of the houses.” A few children are pictured having fun: Two kids play soccer in the Calleja de las Flores in Córdoba, Spain, and two other children make a snowman in the Japanese spread. Other kids are depicted walking alongside adults. The facts accompanying the illustrations are sometimes inadequate. The Anne Frank House receives prominent mention in the paragraph about Amsterdam’s Prinsengracht, but it’s impossible to tell whether it’s in the picture. The text about Calle 3 in Medellín, Colombia, mentions that “ten years ago, its residents barely dared to go outside” due to “the constant clashes between the army and drug gangs.” Without a specific year, the reference will be meaningless in the future. There is no map showing the various cities, nor any resources for readers motivated to learn more.

Visually attractive but cursory. (Informational picture book. 8-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-3-7913-7403-1

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Prestel

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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Several unexpected connections, though Eurocentric overall and lacking in racial diversity.

HEAD TO HEAD

18 LINKED PORTRAITS OF PEOPLE WHO CHANGED THE WORLD

Renowned achievers go nose-to-nose on fold-out pages.

Mixing contemporary celebrities with historical figures, Corbineau pairs off his gallery of full-page portraits by theme, the images all reworked from photos or prints into cut-paper collages with highly saturated hues. Gandhi and Rosa Parks exemplify nonviolent protest; Mother Teresa and Angelina Jolie are (mostly) commended for their work with impoverished people; and a “common point” between Gutenberg and Mark Zuckerberg is that both revolutionized the ways we communicate. The portraits, on opposite ends of gatefolds, open to reveal short biographies flanking explanatory essays. Women and people of color are distinctly underrepresented. There are a few surprises, such as guillotined French playwright Olympe de Gouges, linked for her feminism with actress Emma Watson; extreme free-fall jumper Felix Baumgartner, paired with fellow aerialist record-seeker Amelia Earhart; and Nelson Mandela’s co–freedom fighter Jean Moulin, a leader of the French Resistance. In another departure from the usual run of inspirational panegyrics, Cornabas slips in the occasional provocative claim, noting that many countries considered Mandela’s African National Congress a terrorist organization and that Mother Teresa, believing that suffering was “a gift from God,” rarely gave her patients painkillers. Although perhaps only some of these subjects “changed the world” in any significant sense, all come off as admirable—for their ambition, strength of character, and drive.

Several unexpected connections, though Eurocentric overall and lacking in racial diversity. (map, timeline) (Collective biography. 8-11)

Pub Date: Nov. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-7643-6226-2

Page Count: 84

Publisher: Schiffer

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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