A deeply felt but not overwrought telling of a story that will be new to most young readers.

SEVEN AND A HALF TONS OF STEEL

A reverent account of the creation of a seagoing 9/11 memorial fashioned by incorporating part of one of the fallen towers into the hull of a Navy ship.

Following a wordless, powerful sequence in which a seemingly ordinary jet flies peacefully through a cloudless sky and then directly into a tower, Nolan opens by noting that there is “something different, something special” about the seemingly ordinary USS New York. In the tragedy’s aftermath, she explains, a steel beam was pulled from the wreckage and sent to a foundry in Louisiana. There, workers melted it down, recast and shaped it, and sent it to New Orleans, where, notwithstanding the destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina, it was incorporated into the bow of a new ship of war. Gonzalez echoes the author’s somber, serious tone with dark scenes of ground zero, workers with shadowed faces, and views of the ship from low angles to accentuate its monumental bulk. Though Nolan goes light on names and dates, she adds a significant bit of background to the overall story of 9/11 and its enduring effects. Backmatter includes a cutaway diagram and some additional facts.

A deeply felt but not overwrought telling of a story that will be new to most young readers. (Informational picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-56145-912-4

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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A crisp historical vignette.

BEN'S REVOLUTION

BENJAMIN RUSSELL AND THE BATTLE OF BUNKER HILL

A boy experiences the Boston Tea Party, the response to the Intolerable Acts, and the battle at Breed’s Hill in Charlestown.

Philbrick has taken his Bunker Hill (2013), pulled from its 400 pages the pivotal moments, added a 12-year-old white boy—Benjamin Russell—as the pivot, and crafted a tale of what might have happened to him during those days of unrest in Boston from 1773 to 1775 (Russell was a real person). Philbrick explains, in plainspoken but gradually accelerating language, the tea tax, the Boston Tea Party, the Intolerable Acts, and the quartering of troops in Boston as well as the institution of a military government. Into this ferment, he introduces Benjamin Russell, where he went to school, his part-time apprenticeship at Isaiah Thomas’ newspaper, sledding down Beacon Hill, and the British officer who cleaned the cinders from the snow so the boys could sled farther and farther. It is these humanizing touches that make war its own intolerable act. Readers see Benjamin, courtesy of Minor’s misty gouache-and-watercolor tableaux, as he becomes stranded outside Boston Neck and becomes a clerk for the patriots. Significant characters are introduced, as is the geography of pre-landfilled Boston, to gain a good sense of why certain actions took place where they did. The final encounter at Breed’s Hill demonstrates how a battle can be won by retreating.

A crisp historical vignette. (maps, author’s note, illustrator’s note) (Historical fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: May 23, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-399-16674-7

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 14, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2017

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Purposeful but effective in delivering an environmental message and encouraging action.

BATS IN TROUBLE

Visiting her grandfather’s Alberta farm, Cricket and her best friend, Shilo, discover dead bats near wind turbines operated by the local utility, work out the problem, and find a way to help the bats migrate more safely.

This is a third episode in a Canadian series about animal-lover Cricket McKay, who previously saved ospreys and salamanders (Salamander Rescue, 2016, etc.). The 11 short chapters include grayscale illustrations (often occupying a full page) showing the white characters in action. Emerging readers in the primary grades will appreciate the simple, straightforward writing and larger-than-usual type but may be confused by the opening story fragment featuring a character who doesn’t figure in the actual story. That ghost story, told around a campfire, is a way of introducing Shilo’s fears about bats. Happily, as she learns what bats actually do and don’t do, these fears disappear. The two girls identify the dead bats—migrating hoary bats—encounter another local species while sheltering from a hail storm in Mr. McKay’s old hay shed, and make origami bats themselves. (A missed illustration opportunity shows several stages of their paper-folding but not the complete instructions.) Finally, they come up with a clever and successful way of sharing their concerns with townspeople and the electric company. An epilogue tells readers more about bats and about the scientific study on which the story is based.

Purposeful but effective in delivering an environmental message and encouraging action. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4598-1403-5

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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