The actual visuals could be livelier, but younger readers after a mental big picture of the struggle will be well served.


From the If You Lived series

An overview of the war’s course, cost, and immediate aftermath.

This latest in the relaunch of the If You Lived series follows the question-and-answer format of If You Lived at the Time of the Civil War (1994) by Kay Moore, illustrated by Anni Matsick, and covers similar subject matter, though with updated language (enslaved people rather than slaves ) and different questions. Patrick answers questions such as “Did Abraham Lincoln own enslaved people?” and “Did women fight in the Civil War?” He didn’t, they of course did…and along with hundreds of women, Patrick notes, Native Americans of several named nations also fought, on both sides. Though she is wrong in claiming that the fate of the submarine Hunley remains unknown (the wreckage was discovered in 1995), in general her accounts of the war’s major causes, campaigns, and effects on daily life are accurate if broadly brushed, and her expanded coverage of Reconstruction adds historical context that Moore’s work lacked. With a few exceptions, Harris goes for depictions of generic, stolid-looking light- or dark-skinned soldiers and civilians rather than specific portraits. There are no source or resource lists, but a few small maps and stylized battle scenes are interspersed.

The actual visuals could be livelier, but younger readers after a mental big picture of the struggle will be well served. (glossary) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 20, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-338-71280-3

Page Count: 88

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2022

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Go adventuring with a better guide.


From the The 50 States series

Find something to do in every state in the U.S.A.!

This guide highlights a location of interest within each of the states, therefore excluding Washington, D.C., and the territories. Trivia about each location is scattered across crisply rendered landscapes that background each state’s double-page spread while diminutive, diverse characters populate the scenes. Befitting the title, one “adventure” is presented per state, such as shrimping in Louisiana’s bayous, snowshoeing in Connecticut, or celebrating the Fourth of July in Boston. While some are stereotypical gimmes (surfing in California), others have the virtue of novelty, at least for this audience, such as viewing the sandhill crane migration in Nebraska. Within this thematic unity, some details go astray, and readers may find themselves searching in vain for animals mentioned. The trivia is plentiful but may be misleading, vague, or incorrect. Information about the Native American peoples of the area is often included, but its brevity—especially regarding sacred locations—means readers are floundering without sufficient context. The same is true for many of the facts that relate directly to expansion and colonialism, such as the unexplained near extinction of bison. Describing the genealogical oral history of South Carolina’s Gullah community as “spin[ning] tales” is equally brusque and offensive. The book tries to do a lot, but it is more style than substance, which may leave readers bored, confused, slightly annoyed—or all three. (This book was reviewed digitally with 12.2-by-20.2-inch double-page spreads viewed at 80% of actual size.)

Go adventuring with a better guide. (tips on local adventuring, index) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7112-5445-9

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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A story of bitter cold infused with warmth and with the fighting spirit of its courageous subject.



The tale of an indomitable sailor who survived challenge after challenge—including the wreck of Ernest Shackleton’s Endurance.

Irish-born sailor Tom Crean’s (1877-1938) life changed forever when he agreed to join a voyage destined for Antarctica. Signing on to the Discovery, Crean was involved in early exploration of the continent and ultimately made three treks to the Antarctic—the last of which extended more than two years and involved a death-defying journey back to civilization after the loss of the famous Endurance. Each journey was fraught with dangers, from starvation and malnutrition to frostbite and hypothermia. But still, Crean returned. Though the story does not shy away from the tragedies and horrors of exploration, noting the loss of both human and animal companions on each journey, Thermes’ narration is age-appropriate. Readers fascinated by the sea or by our least-populated continent will find this biography gripping, and educators and caregivers will appreciate the robust backmatter, which includes an afterword, a timeline, and a list of select sources that encourage further study. Relying on panels, as in a graphic novel, the illustrations, rendered in colored pencil and watercolor, capture the warmth of the ships and the cold expanses of the glaciers and ice. Thermes makes excellent use of the pages’ white spaces to capture the beauty and the loneliness of Antarctica, further pulling readers into Crean’s journey. Crean and his crewmates present White. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A story of bitter cold infused with warmth and with the fighting spirit of its courageous subject. (facts about Antarctica) (Biography. 8-10)

Pub Date: Jan. 24, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-593-11772-9

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2022

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