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This homage to the role of the everyday horse in advancing human culture leaves out how the horse feels about it.

An illustrated history presents the working horse–human relationship through the ages.

With colorful illustrations drawn in a child-friendly style, the book intersperses double-page spreads, spot illustrations, and more than a few simplified maps showing small horse figures cavorting on continents to give an overall informative, if busy, look. Although a few dark-skinned, black-haired people are depicted, the majority of the humans illustrated have the same light beige skin color, including the buckskin-clad, black-haired youth astride an Appaloosa or the person garbed in desert robes riding an Arabian. The text—also visually lively as it intersperses callout boxes, sidebars, and ongoing narration—offers plenty of information that is, unfortunately, somewhat sanitized. Racehorses, for example, were and are often mistreated, and coal ponies certainly didn’t have a great life hauling coal underground in mines, but these issues are glossed over quickly as the story resolutely develops its theme of the importance of the role of the everyday working horse. The backmatter presents a timeline and author’s note, which do mention, more pointedly, the less-happy interactions of humans and horses (such as the 8 million horses killed in World War I), but the overall story would be far more balanced if these darker relationships had been included in the body of the story. (This book was reviewed digitally with 9.8-by-22.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 24.8% of actual size.)

This homage to the role of the everyday horse in advancing human culture leaves out how the horse feels about it. (Informational picture book. 8-12)

Pub Date: April 27, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4945-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2021

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1001 BEES

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere.

This book is buzzing with trivia.

Follow a swarm of bees as they leave a beekeeper’s apiary in search of a new home. As the scout bees traverse the fields, readers are provided with a potpourri of facts and statements about bees. The information is scattered—much like the scout bees—and as a result, both the nominal plot and informational content are tissue-thin. There are some interesting facts throughout the book, but many pieces of trivia are too, well trivial, to prove useful. For example, as the bees travel, readers learn that “onion flowers are round and fluffy” and “fennel is a plant that is used in cooking.” Other facts are oversimplified and as a result are not accurate. For example, monofloral honey is defined as “made by bees who visit just one kind of flower” with no acknowledgment of the fact that bees may range widely, and swarm activity is described as a springtime event, when it can also occur in summer and early fall. The information in the book, such as species identification and measurement units, is directed toward British readers. The flat, thin-lined artwork does little to enhance the story, but an “I spy” game challenging readers to find a specific bee throughout is amusing.

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere. (Informational picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-500-65265-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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A measured corrective to pervasive myths about what is often referred to as the “first Thanksgiving.”

Contextualizing them within a Native perspective, Newell (Passamaquoddy) touches on the all-too-familiar elements of the U.S. holiday of Thanksgiving and its origins and the history of English colonization in the territory now known as New England. In addition to the voyage and landfall of the Mayflower, readers learn about the Doctrine of Discovery that arrogated the lands of non-Christian peoples to European settlers; earlier encounters between the Indigenous peoples of the region and Europeans; and the Great Dying of 1616-1619, which emptied the village of Patuxet by 1620. Short, two- to six-page chapters alternate between the story of the English settlers and exploring the complex political makeup of the region and the culture, agriculture, and technology of the Wampanoag—all before covering the evolution of the holiday. Refreshingly, the lens Newell offers is a Native one, describing how the Wampanoag and other Native peoples received the English rather than the other way around. Key words ranging from estuary to discover are printed in boldface in the narrative and defined in a closing glossary. Nelson (a member of the Leech Lake Band of Minnesota Chippewa) contributes soft line-and-color illustrations of the proceedings. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Essential. (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-72637-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Scholastic Nonfiction

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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