If readers can make sense of this story, they’re likely able to tackle the original instead.



Letts adapts her bestselling 2016 work of the same title for young readers.

As World War II sweeps across Europe, the fates of several master horsemen become entwined. In Poland, Andrzej Kristalovich, head of the national stud farm, sees his life’s work disappear when Russian soldiers capture his horses. Nazi Germans, invading next, restore some of the animals in order to breed them for the Third Reich. Meanwhile, in Vienna, Olympic medalist Alois Podhajsky is desperately trying to care for the Lipizzan stallions at the famed Spanish Riding School even as the invading Germans capture the Lipizzan stud farms and move most of the horses to Czechoslovakia. Meanwhile, at an American Army base in Kansas, Maj. Hank Reed is overseeing the cavalry’s transition from horses, no longer useful in warfare, to mechanized vehicles. These threads come together at the end of the war when Reed orchestrates a complex rescue of both sets of horses. This is not a particularly successful adaptation. It’s shorter than the original, but both the storyline and timeline are fragmented, making it difficult for the putative audience of 8- to 12-year-olds to follow, and extraneous details fail to advance the main narrative. Aside from a map and archival images (both not seen), there is no timeline or other visual aid to help organize the narrative. Characters are all white.

If readers can make sense of this story, they’re likely able to tackle the original instead. (author’s note, characters, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-64474-3

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2018

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In this companion to Portraits of War: Civil War Photographers and Their Work (1998), Sullivan presents an album of the prominent ships and men who fought on both sides, matched to an engrossing account of the war's progress: at sea, on the Mississippi, and along the South's well-defended coastline. In his view, the issue never was in doubt, for though the Confederacy fought back with innovative ironclads, sleek blockade runners, well-armed commerce raiders, and sturdy fortifications, from the earliest stages the North was able to seal off, and then take, one major southern port after another. The photos, many of which were made from fragile glass plates whose survival seems near-miraculous, are drawn from private as well as public collections, and some have never been published before. There aren't any action shots, since mid-19th-century photography required very long exposure times, but the author compensates with contemporary prints, plus crisp battle accounts, lucid strategic overviews, and descriptions of the technological developments that, by war's end, gave this country a world-class navy. He also profiles the careers of Matthew Brady and several less well-known photographers, adding another level of interest to a multi-stranded survey. (source notes, index) (Nonfiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-7613-1553-5

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Twenty-First Century/Millbrook

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2001

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A soaring tribute.



A dramatic, meticulous record of the U.S. space program’s greatest achievement (so far).

Systematically describing major components of the Saturn V and Apollo capsules, each onboard instrument, and the central NASA support facilities, Rocco orchestrates a grand overview that mingles analyses of daunting challenges and technical problems with appreciative nods to some of the 400,000 scientists and industrial workers who faced and solved them. Tucking in explanations of orbital physics and other background along the way from Sputnik to Apollo 11 (the other Apollo missions are summarized at the end), he highlights both techno-triumphs, from humongous rockets to the icky but ingenious in-flight Fecal Collection System, as well as the crucial but unsung labors of capsule designer Max Faget and dozens of others. Wary of turning the heavily illustrated pages into busy thickets of extraneous detail, the Caldecott honoree mixes his own cleanly drawn conceptualizations and cutaway views with repainted (mostly color) versions of period photographs, documents, portraits, and renowned shots like Earthrise. With a main narrative composed in the present tense, the result gives the insights, events, disasters, and near disasters of over a half-century ago not only visual unity, but an immediacy that will sweep readers along—and serve as a constant reminder that the participants, from well-known names like Katherine Johnson to geologist Farouk El-Baz and seamstress Ellie Foraker, weren’t all White men or remote historical figures.

A soaring tribute. (author’s notes, sources, further reading, acronyms, index, map) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-64741-6

Page Count: 264

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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