An entertaining introduction to America’s War for Independence conveyed with enough kid-friendly humor that it may make...

THE THRIFTY GUIDE TO THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION

A HANDBOOK FOR TIME TRAVELERS

From the Handbook for Time Travelers series

Like The Thrifty Guide to Ancient Rome (2017), this 22nd-century publication by Time Corp gives those would-be time travelers wanting to partake of the American Revolution plenty of useful information to prepare for the trip.

There is practical information on appropriate period dress, how to fire a musket, what to do if you are shot by one, and how to survive a stint in the Continental Army. You learn that men started wearing powdered wigs in the 1600s to cover up the lost patches of hair and bloody sores caused by syphilis. Poorly rated accommodations include the HMS Jersey prison ship and Valley Forge. Recommended as interesting lunch companions are African-American patriot Salem Poor, white teenage soldier John Greenwood, enslaved African poet Phillis Wheatley, and Benjamin Franklin. The factual information embedded in the jokey fictional narrative offers some interesting insights into the causes of the American Revolution, notable figures, pivotal battles, and strategies and tactics. Among the historical figures introduced are Benedict Arnold, Alexander Hamilton, John Paul Jones, Henry Knox, Paul Revere and, of course, George Washington.

An entertaining introduction to America’s War for Independence conveyed with enough kid-friendly humor that it may make those who dismiss history as a bore reconsider. (bibliography, maps) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 30, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-101-99811-3

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Nov. 13, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2017

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IF YOU LIVED DURING THE PLIMOTH THANKSGIVING

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. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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Like oil itself, this is a book that needs to be handled with special care.

OIL

In 1977, the oil carrier Exxon Valdez spilled 11 million gallons of oil into a formerly pristine Alaskan ocean inlet, killing millions of birds, animals, and fish. Despite a cleanup, crude oil is still there.

The Winters foretold the destructive powers of the atomic bomb allusively in The Secret Project (2017), leaving the actuality to the backmatter. They make no such accommodations to young audiences in this disturbing book. From the dark front cover, on which oily blobs conceal a seabird, to the rescuer’s sad face on the back, the mother-son team emphasizes the disaster. A relatively easy-to-read and poetically heightened text introduces the situation. Oil is pumped from the Earth “all day long, all night long, / day after day, year after year” in “what had been unspoiled land, home to Native people // and thousands of caribou.” The scale of extraction is huge: There’s “a giant pipeline” leading to “enormous ships.” Then, crash. Rivers of oil gush out over three full-bleed wordless pages. Subsequent scenes show rocks, seabirds, and sea otters covered with oil. Finally, 30 years later, animals have returned to a cheerful scene. “But if you lift a rock… // oil / seeps / up.” For an adult reader, this is heartbreaking. How much more difficult might this be for an animal-loving child?

Like oil itself, this is a book that needs to be handled with special care. (author’s note, further reading) (Informational picture book. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 31, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3077-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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