THE POET KING OF TEZCOCO

A GREAT LEADER OF ANCIENT MEXICO

Equally accomplished in war, letters and (relatively) compassionate government, a strong ally of the Aztec Empire and a ruler who turned the city-state of Tezcoco (more often spelled Texcoco) into the Athens of pre-Conquest Mexico, Nezahualcóyotl is a historical figure whose name is well worth learning to pronounce. Serrano pulls together the sketchy, half-legendary details of his life into a coherent narrative, which has been adapted and translated from the Spanish by Balch. Driven into exile as a young man, Nezahualcóyotl definitely beat the odds by surviving years of ruthless pursuit, then formed an alliance with neighboring powers, returned to his home in triumph and settled down to establish a new code of laws, as well as several governing bodies and cultural institutions. Enhanced by plenty of Jo Anne Engelbert’s strongly translated samples of his poetry and stylized illustrations based on scenes and vignettes from the Xólotl Codex, an important early source of biographical information, this study presents both a portrait of an admirable figure and a reminder that the Aztecs weren’t the only great Mesoamerican civilization. (map, chronology, source and resource notes) (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: May 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-88899-787-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2007

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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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Wheeler offers a scrapbook-style travelogue of her seven-month stint on the world’s coldest continent. Letters to her...

GREETINGS FROM ANTARCTICA

            In an eye-opening companion to such works as Jennifer Armstrong’s Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World (1999) and Elizabeth Cody Kimmel’s Ice Story (p.  66) on Shackleton, readers get a contemporary look at Antarctica.

            Wheeler offers a scrapbook-style travelogue of her seven-month stint on the world’s coldest continent.  Letters to her godson, Daniel, describe a harsh environment so cold that dental fillings fall out.  Double-page spreads dotted with full-color snapshots form short chapters on the icy region, suiting up, the difficulties of everyday existence, food and drink, shelter, transportation, entertainment, and wildlife.  The last third of the volume is devoted to current scientific pursuits as well as an overview of famous expeditions to the nearly uninhabitable “bottom of the planet.”  The cheery photographs – most by the author – show her dwarfed by the Barne glacier, posing with Emperor penguins, even building an igloo.  While the chatty letters highlight personal details of the trip, boxed inserts provide background information.  Key dates in Antarctic history complete this accessible profile, ideal as entry into units on the region.  (maps, charts, diagrams, further reading, index)  (Nonfiction.  8-12)

Pub Date: July 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-87226-295-2

Page Count: 44

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1999

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