THE KNIGHT'S HANDBOOK

HOW TO BECOME A CHAMPION IN SHINING ARMOR

Anyone who's ever dreamed of jousting on horseback will want a peek at this fun history of knights. Benefiting from an interactive approach, the text not only traces the career path a noble-born boy pursued to become a knight—first serving as a page, then advancing to squire, and finally earning that literal tap on the shoulder from another knight, or even the king—but also shows through detailed instruction how to construct a castle, helmet, sword, shield, catapult, etc., from foil board and other inexpensive materials. Eye-catching layouts, complete with numerous full-color photographs and period illustrations, keep readers involved, as does Gravett's inclusion of such amusing tidbits as how to behave during a medieval feast (don't throw the bones back in the serving bowl) and the recipe for a knightly dessert. Also discussed are tournaments, the code of chivalry, and the Crusades, after which the book abruptly ends; readers will only wish that it were longer. (Nonfiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: May 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-525-65241-8

Page Count: 30

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1997

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THREE YOUNG PILGRIMS

Mary, Remember, and Bartholomew Allerton were among the youngest on the Mayflower's first voyage; the words here tell how, with the other newcomers, they suffer tremendous losses but gradually come to view Plymouth as home. Meanwhile, the author's paintings expand considerably on the text with a fanciful map of the journey, a cutaway view of the ship, and crowd scenes of planting, harvest, and thanksgiving. The children, introduced in the first paragraph, don't appear in the illustrations, and are not the focus of any picture, until well into the book. The ongoing disparity between text and art is unsettling; moreover, the text is often clumsy: After the death of Mary—last of the original group—the narrative leaps back to a confusing, incomplete explanation of the Pilgrims' origins. The panoramic watercolors are attractive, with expertly composed, cinematic scenes, but the text, pursuing its separate agenda, regrettably never catches up. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 1992

ISBN: 0-02-742643-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1992

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The rare immigrant chronicle that is as long on hope as it is on heartbreak.

INFINITE COUNTRY

A 15-year-old girl in Colombia, doing time in a remote detention center, orchestrates a jail break and tries to get home.

"People say drugs and alcohol are the greatest and most persuasive narcotics—the elements most likely to ruin a life. They're wrong. It's love." As the U.S. recovers from the repeal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, from the misery of separations on the border, from both the idea and the reality of a wall around the United States, Engel's vital story of a divided Colombian family is a book we need to read. Weaving Andean myth and natural symbolism into her narrative—condors signify mating for life, jaguars revenge; the embattled Colombians are "a singed species of birds without feathers who can still fly"; children born in one country and raised in another are "repotted flowers, creatures forced to live in the wrong habitat"—she follows Talia, the youngest child, on a complex journey. Having committed a violent crime not long before she was scheduled to leave her father in Bogotá to join her mother and siblings in New Jersey, she winds up in a horrible Catholic juvie from which she must escape in order to make her plane. Hence the book's wonderful first sentence: "It was her idea to tie up the nun." Talia's cross-country journey is interwoven with the story of her parents' early romance, their migration to the United States, her father's deportation, her grandmother's death, the struggle to reunite. In the latter third of the book, surprising narrative shifts are made to include the voices of Talia's siblings, raised in the U.S. This provides interesting new perspectives, but it is a little awkward to break the fourth wall so late in the book. Attention, TV and movie people: This story is made for the screen.

The rare immigrant chronicle that is as long on hope as it is on heartbreak.

Pub Date: today

ISBN: 978-1-982159-46-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Avid Reader Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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Rappaport makes this long struggle palpable and relevant, while Faulkner adds a winning mix of gravitas and high spirits.

ELIZABETH STARTED ALL THE TROUBLE

Rappaport examines the salient successes and raw setbacks along the 144-year-long road between the nation’s birth and women’s suffrage.

This lively yet forthright narrative pivots on a reality that should startle modern kids: women’s right to vote was only achieved in 1920, 72 years after Elizabeth Cady Stanton organized the first Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, New York. Indeed, time’s passage figures as a textual motif, connecting across decades such determined women as Stanton, Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, and Lucy Stone. They spoke tirelessly, marched, organized, and got arrested. Rappaport includes events such as 1913’s Women’s Suffrage Parade in Washington, D.C., but doesn’t shy from divisive periods like the Civil War. Faulkner’s meticulously researched gouache-and-ink illustrations often infuse scenes with humor by playing with size and perspective. As Stanton and Lucretia Mott sail into London in 1840 for the World Anti-Slavery Conference, Faulkner depicts the two women as giants on the ship’s upper deck. On the opposite page, as they learn they’ll be barred as delegates, they’re painted in miniature, dwarfed yet unflappable beneath a gallery full of disapproving men. A final double-page spread mingles such modern stars as Shirley Chisholm and Sonia Sotomayor amid the historical leaders.

Rappaport makes this long struggle palpable and relevant, while Faulkner adds a winning mix of gravitas and high spirits. (biographical thumbnails, chronology, sources, websites, further reading, author’s note) (Picture book/biography. 6-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7868-5142-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2015

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