IF YOU LIVED DURING THE CIVIL WAR

From the If You Lived series

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

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. 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2022

50 ADVENTURES IN THE 50 STATES

From the The 50 States series

Go adventuring with a better guide.

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 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

THE FUNNIEST MAN IN BASEBALL

THE TRUE STORY OF MAX PATKIN

A loving homage to the last baseball clown.

Max Patkin had a very long and rewarding career in baseball, but it wasn’t in the way he originally planned.

He was a good-enough pitcher to earn a place in the minor leagues. In 1942 he was sidelined by an injury and joined the Navy. After surgery he was good to go: to Hawaii to play baseball with other professional players as a way of entertaining the troops. He played with and against the likes of Pee Wee Reese and Joe DiMaggio. When DiMaggio hit a very long home run against him, Max followed him around the bases, mimicking his motions and garnering laughs and cheers from players and spectators. After the war he played in the minors again, but injuries ended his playing days. But his comic routines were remembered, and he was asked to perform at exhibition games all over the country. Everyone seemed to love his over-the-top slapstick and hilarious performances. Vernick displays warm affection for Patkin, describing his antics in amusing anecdotes that are followed by quoting his signature line, “True Story!” Bower’s colorful cartoons manage to capture the essence of Max’s goofy appearance and all-out efforts to elicit every bit of fun he could invent in the game he loved so much. It was a different time.

A loving homage to the last baseball clown. (author’s note, sources) (Picture book/ biography. 8-10)

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-544-81377-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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