This third installment in Whelan’s Island Trilogy portrays 19th-century daily living and the tension between the Native Americans and white settlers. Picking up where Farewell to the Island left off, Mary is running the family farm without her father, now deceased. Two men in Mary’s life strive for her attention. James, who has pursued her from England, still wishes for her hand, while her childhood friend, White Hawk, shows his affection in a more steadfast way. White Hawk divides his time between helping Mary on the farm and assisting his tribe. There is great tension between the Sauk Indian tribe and the American Fur Co., whose proprietors, though they brought commerce to the island of Michilimackinac, use unsavory means to monopolize trapping. As winter takes hold, White Hawk finds he must return to his people; starvation is imminent and he must help them find an alternative to selling their land to white men. It is Mary who conceives of the plan that brings food to the Indians. James eventually finds his true love elsewhere, and Mary and White Hawk wed. Mary opens the first school for girls while White Hawk continues to assist his people. Mary’s romance with White Hawk comes off lukewarm, and the narrative never has much momentum. Still, for Mary’s fans and those wishing to gain a unique insight into this short but devastating time in Native American history, this is a worthwhile read. (Fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 31, 2000

ISBN: 0-06-028253-3

Page Count: 192

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2000

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The author and illustrator bring to life an incident right out of history in this droll picture book enhanced by lively, color- washed pen-and-ink drawings. In Cheshire, Massachusetts, the home of mouth-watering cheese, the local residents grumble that President Jefferson is serving cheese from Norton, Connecticut, at the White House. “I have an idea,” says Elder John Leland to the assembled town folk, “If each of you will give one day’s milking from each of your many cows, we can put our curds together and create a whopping big cheddar.” Although some people scoff, the farmers bring load after load of milk—from 934 cows—to town and they set about making an enormous cheese. There are problems along the way, but eventually the giant cheese is dragged to a barn to age. At last it is perfect, and Mr. Leland and friends start the long haul to the East Room of White House. In a foreword, the author explains the truth and fiction in the tale, e.g., that the presidential residence wasn’t called the White House until about 1809. A humorous tale with a wide range of appeal and uses in and out of the classroom. (Picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-7894-2573-4

Page Count: 30

Publisher: DK Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1999

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From Dodds (The Shape of Things, 1994, not reviewed, etc.), a rhyming, reckless text that makes a math process pleasurably solvable; Mitchell’s illustrative debut features a smashing cast of 1930s characters and a playfulness that will keep readers guessing. The premise is a Great Race: at the sound of the gun, 80 bicycle racers take off at top speed. The path diverges at the top of a cliff, and half the racers hurtle forever downward and right out of the race and the book. The remaining 40 racers determinedly continue in boats, their curls, spyglasses, eye patches, matronly upswept hairdos, and Clara Bow—lips intact. Whirlpools erupt to divide them again and wreck their ships, so it’s time to grab the next horse and ride on. The race continues, despite abrupt changes in modes of transportation and in the number of racers that dwindle by disastrous divisions, until a single winner glides over the finish line in a single-prop plane. The pace is so breathless and engaging that the book’s didactic origins all but disappear; few readers will notice that they’ve just finished a math problem, and most will want to go over all the action again. (Picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-7636-0442-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1999

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