Seek elsewhere.

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EGYPT MAGNIFIED

A Where’s Waldo?–style seek-and-find along the banks of the Nile.

Kitted out with a small magnifying glass (because “every Egyptologist needs a magnifying glass!”), this album features 16 Egyptian scenes rendered cartoon-style and teeming with small figures (all brown-skinned except for a slightly more variegated modern cast of tourists and researchers swarming over the weathered Sphinx). Long provides commentary that ranges from jejune (“Oars made boats travel faster and helped sailors to steer”; Senet “was similar to chess or checkers”) to nonsensical (“Workers rubbed the gold dust with sponges to make it shine”). A closing timeline runs from 6000 “BC” to the rise of the fictive “Islamic Empire” in 642 “AD.” Along the way viewers are invited to spot an underwhelming 10 people or items in each picture, and even the predictable encouragement at the end to go back in search of 57 more doesn’t represent much of a challenge, as these are all pre-located on a visual key.

Seek elsewhere. (Informational novelty. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-78603-097-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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It’s not the most dramatic version, but it’s a visually effective and serviceable addition to the rapidly growing shelf of...

THE FIRST MEN WHO WENT TO THE MOON

A 50th-anniversary commemoration of the epochal Apollo 11 mission.

Modeling her account on “The House That Jack Built” (an unspoken, appropriate nod to President John F. Kennedy’s foundational role in the enterprise), Greene takes Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins from liftoff to post-splashdown ticker-tape parade. Side notes on some spreads and two pages of further facts with photographs at the end, all in smaller type, fill in select details about the mission and its historical context. The rhymed lines are fully cumulated only once, so there is some repetition but never enough to grow monotonous: “This is the Moon, a mysterious place, / a desolate land in the darkness of space, / far from Earth with oceans blue.” Also, the presentation of the text in just three or fewer lines per spread stretches out the narrative and gives Brundage latitude for both formal and informal group portraits of Apollo 11’s all-white crew, multiple glimpses of our planet and the moon at various heights, and, near the end, atmospheric (so to speak) views of the abandoned lander and boot prints in the lunar dust.

It’s not the most dramatic version, but it’s a visually effective and serviceable addition to the rapidly growing shelf of tributes to our space program’s high-water mark. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-58536-412-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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Solid, if not revolutionary.

ALEXANDER HAMILTON

A PLAN FOR AMERICA

Albee and Ko take their shot at an early-reader biography about Alexander Hamilton.

Emergent readers (and their caregivers) familiar with Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hit musical Hamilton will be rewarded with what amounts to an illustrated highlights reel of the founding father’s life. Albee opens in medias res by describing Hamilton as “a soldier, a lawyer, and a financial wizard,” before the spare text quickly brings readers to Hamilton’s Caribbean childhood, noting his father’s abandonment, his mother’s death, and his determined rise from poverty. He’s presented as a trusted adviser to George Washington and rival to Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr, with Ko’s accompanying digital art depicting him with a smiling man on horseback (Washington), while on the facing page, the two other men scowl. A later spread notes major differences between Jefferson and Hamilton, including acknowledgment that Jefferson enslaved people while “Hamilton was against slavery,” but Washington’s slave-owner status isn’t named, nor is the American Revolution’s impact on Indigenous peoples. Personal milestones, such as marriage to Eliza Schuyler, are noted alongside references to his involvement in the war and his work with the nascent American government. While his death occurs on the page, strategies to keep the text within the comprehension of its audience risk undermining other historical content by omitting such terms as “revolution” and the Federalist Papers (though they do appear in backmatter).

Solid, if not revolutionary. (Early reader/biography. 6-8)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-243291-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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