Next book



Part informational text, part activity book, this brief but intricately illustrated journey should spark readers’ curiosity.

A trip through time along China’s Grand Canal.

As the longest and oldest canal in the world, the Grand Canal waterway stretches 1,115 miles (1,794 km). Traveling in time and space from construction in 486 B.C.E. in Yangzhou to the “ever-growing city” of Tianjin in 2020 C.E., readers are invited to “explore this ancient wonder [and] follow the fortunes of the canal and the people that lived along it, through good times and bad.” Panoramic landscape paintings span oversized double-page spreads. The mostly consistent perspective helps highlight that which stays similar and that which changes and makes for engaging page turns. Du’s detailed illustrations bring to life the bustle of canal cities, capturing pivotal moments in time. Readers will witness a military coup in Kaifeng (960 C.E.) on a wintry night lit by firelight as well as a “busy port...teeming with life” on a moonlit midnight at the Maple Bridge night fair in Suzhou (760 C.E.). Although it provides a brief historical overview, the journey along the canal is not linear geographically nor chronologically. Callout images to seek out and accompanying bite-sized facts to take in border each spread and guide the eye, however. Readers are invited to spot a “baby glimpsing the outside world for the first time,” a reservoir controlled by a sluice gate, a builder precariously “balancing on a unsteady plank,” and travelers burning incense for good luck. Lihua, a “street-smart, time-traveling cat” hidden in each spread, adds another propulsive layer.

Part informational text, part activity book, this brief but intricately illustrated journey should spark readers’ curiosity. (quiz, glossary) (Informational picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4654-8174-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: DK Publishing

Review Posted Online: Nov. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

Next book


From the All About America series

Shot through with vague generalities and paired to a mix of equally generic period images and static new art, this overview remorselessly sucks all the juice from its topic.

This survey of the growth of industries in this country from the Colonial period to the post–World War II era is written in the driest of textbook-ese: “Factories needed good transportation so that materials could reach them and so that materials could reach buyers”; “The metal iron is obtained by heating iron ore”; “In 1860, the North said that free men, not slaves, should do the work.” This text is supplemented by a jumble of narrative-overview blocks, boxed side observations and terse captions on each thematic spread. The design is packed with overlapping, misleadingly seamless and rarely differentiated mixes of small, heavily trimmed contemporary prints or (later) photos and drab reconstructions of workshop or factory scenes, along with pictures of significant inventions and technological innovations (which are, in several cases, reduced to background design elements). The single, tiny map has no identifying labels. Other new entries in the All About America series deal similarly with Explorers, Trappers, and Pioneers, A Nation of Immigrants and Stagecoaches and Railroads. Utilitarian, at best—but more likely to dim reader interest than kindle it. (index, timeline, resource lists) (Nonfiction. 8-10)


Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7534-6670-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kingfisher

Review Posted Online: Dec. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2012

Next book



A simplistic treatment for an audience likely unfamiliar with its subject.

Ehrlich renders an admiring portrait of Cather, focusing on the relationship between her writing and the places she lived and visited.

Willa and family followed her grandparents from Virginia to Nebraska in 1883. Willa was lonely, but she had a pony and freedom to roam. When her father traded farming for real estate, the family moved to Red Cloud. She read keenly, enjoying adult friends, who "were more interesting than children and...talked to Willa in a serious and cultured way." During her freshman year at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, an essay’s publication changed Willa's path from doctor to writer. Cather worked at magazines in Pittsburgh and New York. The writer Sarah Orne Jewett urged her to focus on her own writing. Journeys to Europe, the American Southwest, back to Nebraska and Virginia—all resonated in her accomplished fiction. Ehrlich writes with little inflection, sometimes adopting Cather's viewpoint. The Civil War and slavery are briefly treated. (Cather's maternal grandparents were slaveholders.) Native Americans receive only incidental mentions: that Red Cloud is named for the Oglala Lakota chief and that, as children, Willa and her brothers had "imagined themselves in Indian country in the Southwest desert. What adventures they would have!" Minor's watercolor-and-gouache pictures depict bucolic prairie scenes and town and city life; meadowlarks appear frequently.

A simplistic treatment for an audience likely unfamiliar with its subject. (timeline, thumbnail biographies of American women writers of Cather's time, bibliography) (Biography. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-689-86573-2

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

Close Quickview