Both revelatory and entertaining, though not without its gaps.

READ REVIEW

CANADA YEAR BY YEAR

In anticipation of Canada’s 2017 sesquicentennial, a breezy year-by-year survey of its history.

MacLeod takes a consciously multicultural approach, highlighting both highlights and lowlights. The first game of indoor hockey (1875) is celebrated, as is the discovery of gold in the Yukon (1896) and the birth of the Dionne Quints (1934). Likewise, Treaty No. 7, the 1877 appropriation of much of what is now Alberta, and discrimination against the Chinese, 8,000 of whom arrived in 1882 to help build the railways, are duly noted. When Canada’s history intersects with world history, the book leaves North America, as in the span from 1914 to 1918, which also includes a profile of “In Flanders Fields” poet John McCrae, a sidebar on trench life, and the invention of the gas mask (by Newfoundlander Cluny Macpherson in 1915). Though the format is limiting, it’s a surprisingly effective tour that gets at both parochial Canadian culture (“1955: Fans riot over Maurice Richard”) and its too often overlooked impact on international affairs, as with Lester B. Pearson’s part in resolving the Suez crisis. Still, for all MacLeod’s admirable attention to Canada’s problematic history with First Nations peoples and minorities, it doesn’t get at the constant Anglophone-Francophone tension that has defined Canada from its inception, largely sidestepping it until the 1968 emergence of the Parti Québecois. Smith’s brushy vignettes include both people of color and white figures as appropriate.

Both revelatory and entertaining, though not without its gaps. (index) (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-77138-397-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2016

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The car gets shortchanged, but comparing the divergent career paths of its (putative) two riders may give readers food for...

TWO MEN AND A CAR

FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT, AL CAPONE, AND A CADILLAC V-8

A custom-built, bulletproof limo links two historical figures who were pre-eminent in more or less different spheres.

Garland admits that a claim that FDR was driven to Congress to deliver his “Day of Infamy” speech in a car that once belonged to Capone rests on shaky evidence. He nonetheless uses the anecdote as a launchpad for twin portraits of contemporaries who occupy unique niches in this country’s history but had little in common. Both were smart, ambitious New Yorkers and were young when their fathers died, but they definitely “headed in opposite directions.” As he fills his biographical sketches with standard-issue facts and has disappointingly little to say about the car itself (which was commissioned by Capone in 1928 and still survives), this outing seems largely intended to be a vehicle for the dark, heavy illustrations. These are done in muted hues with densely scratched surfaces and angled so that the two men, the period backgrounds against which they are posed, and the car have monumental looks. It’s a reach to bill this, as the author does, a “story about America,” but it does at least offer a study in contrasts featuring two of America’s most renowned citizens. Most of the human figures are white in the art, but some group scenes include a few with darker skin.

The car gets shortchanged, but comparing the divergent career paths of its (putative) two riders may give readers food for thought. (timeline, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 10-12)

Pub Date: March 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-88448-620-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Tilbury House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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A valuable introduction to a vanished North American people, told with nuance, engagement, and rue.

TUNIIT

MYSTERIOUS FOLK OF THE ARCTIC

Before the Inuit came to the Arctic, there were the Tuniit.

The Qitsualik-Tinsleys offer readers an introduction to this prehistoric people, twining scientific findings with Inuit legend and even Inuktitut grammar to provide a window on the early Arctic. Without going into anthropological specifics, the husband-and-wife team, who include Inuit, Cree, and Mohawk in their combined heritage, introduce the notion that the Tuniit may not have been human before going on to say that they lived in settlements, originated the intricate stone cairns known as inuksuit, and were short, strong, and shy. They introduce snippets of traditional lore that claim supernatural powers for the Tuniit and that build a strong case for the eventual assimilation of the Tuniit by the encroaching Inuit. Anthropological discoveries validate the existence of the Tuniit and their disappearance as a distinct culture and genotype. Bigham contributes moody oil paintings and ink drawings; shifts in typeface seem to indicate corresponding shifts in mode that highlight the persistence of the Tuniit in Inuit legend, though this is not consistent. The authors clearly wrestle with the understanding that Inuit ancestors displaced an earlier indigenous people, introducing real poignancy to their exhortation that their readers respect the Tuniit by remembering them: "We remember a fate that no culture should have to endure."

A valuable introduction to a vanished North American people, told with nuance, engagement, and rue. (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-927095-76-8

Page Count: 60

Publisher: Inhabit Media

Review Posted Online: April 1, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2015

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