BIRCHBARK BRIGADE

A FUR TRADE HISTORY

The history of colonial-era North America is usually presented to children in terms of settlement—think Jamestown and Plymouth—but this treatment too often ignores the fascinating development and expansion of the fur trade that drove much of the European interest in the continent. Three centuries’ worth of explorers followed Columbus in search of a Northwest Passage to the riches of the Orient; they (finally) found the Pacific and also, more importantly, a treasure trove of beaver pelts along the way. Peterson first provides a history of the military, political and economic development of the trade and then gives readers a snapshot of the lives of the Indians and voyageurs who did the actual work. She relies on a wealth of primary-source material, from archival illustrations to quotes from players both large and small. Sidebars (some oddly placed—“Beavers” appears halfway through) provide additional information on specific topics. The author’s enthusiasm for her subject will communicate itself to readers, even those who never dreamed they’d be interested, making this the best kind of discovery. (time line, notes, bibliography, suggested reading, places to visit, index) (Nonfiction. 10-16)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-59078-426-6

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2009

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A beautiful, powerful reflection on a tragic history.

ON THE HORIZON

In spare verse, Lowry reflects on moments in her childhood, including the bombings of Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima. 

When she was a child, Lowry played at Waikiki Beach with her grandmother while her father filmed. In the old home movie, the USS Arizona appears through the mist on the horizon. Looking back at her childhood in Hawaii and then Japan, Lowry reflects on the bombings that began and ended a war and how they affected and connected everyone involved. In Part 1, she shares the lives and actions of sailors at Pearl Harbor. Part 2 is stories of civilians in Hiroshima affected by the bombing. Part 3 presents her own experience as an American in Japan shortly after the war ended. The poems bring the haunting human scale of war to the forefront, like the Christmas cards a sailor sent days before he died or the 4-year-old who was buried with his red tricycle after Hiroshima. All the personal stories—of sailors, civilians, and Lowry herself—are grounding. There is heartbreak and hope, reminding readers to reflect on the past to create a more peaceful future. Lowry uses a variety of poetry styles, identifying some, such as triolet and haiku. Pak’s graphite illustrations are like still shots of history, adding to the emotion and somber feeling. He includes some sailors of color among the mostly white U.S. forces; Lowry is white.

A beautiful, powerful reflection on a tragic history. (author’s note, bibliography) (Memoir/poetry. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-358-12940-0

Page Count: 80

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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FIVE TRUCKS

Floca (The Frightful Story of Harry Walfish, 1997, etc.) offers a great explication of the small trucks that airline passengers see scurrying around jets on the runways. In brightly painted illustrations and simple descriptions, he introduces each vehicle, explains what it does, and shows it in action, e.g., the truck called the baggage conveyor is shown hoisting suitcases into the belly of the plane. All five trucks’ duties point to a big finale when the plane takes off. Given preschoolers’ well-documented fascination with heavy machinery, this book will strike a chord with young air travelers, and answer the questions of older travelers as well. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-7894-2561-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: DK Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1999

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