For young readers who don’t fancy becoming President (2000) or an Inventor (2002), St. George offers another career path—actually, several dozen paths, as under the aegis of “explorer” she includes not only such familiar figures as Columbus, Mary Kingsley, Amelia Earhart and Yuri Gagarin, but also a lengthy roster that includes the likes of test pilot Chuck Yeager, human genome mappers Francis Collins and Craig Venter, and David Kunst, who walked around the world. Readers will come away with a clear idea of what these and their fellow travelers accomplished, and when—and, more important, a sense of the courage, curiosity and other personal qualities that impelled them. She writes in an exuberant style—“Explorers tackle a quest with gusto. ‘Great’ wasn’t added to Alexander’s name for nothing. . . . ”—that Small’s larger than life, extravagantly wrought caricatures echo perfectly. First-class inspirational reading: funny, fluent and on target. (biographical “glossary”) (Nonfiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-399-23868-9

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2005

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Gives readers a fresh and thrilling sense of what it took to make history.


The backstory of a renowned address is revealed.

Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream Speech” is one of the most famous ever given, yet with this book, Wittenstein and Pinkney give young readers new insights into both the speech and the man behind it. When Dr. King arrived in Washington, D.C., for the 1963 March on Washington, the speech was not yet finished. He turned to his fellow civil rights leaders for advice, and after hours of listening, he returned to his room to compose, fine-tuning even the day of the march. He went on to deliver a powerful speech, but as he closed, he moved away from the prepared text and into a stirring sermon. “Martin was done circling. / The lecture was over. / He was going to church, / his place to land, / and taking a congregation / of two hundred and fifty thousand / along for the ride.” Although much hard work still lay ahead, the impact of Dr. King’s dramatic words and delivery elevated that important moment in the struggle for equal rights. Wittenstein’s free-verse narrative perfectly captures the tension leading up to the speech as each adviser urged his own ideas while remaining a supportive community. Pinkney’s trademark illustrations dramatize this and the speech, adding power and further illuminating the sense of historical importance.

Gives readers a fresh and thrilling sense of what it took to make history. (author’s note, lists of advisers and speakers, bibliography, source notes) (Informational picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4331-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Neal Porter/Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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A patchwork production, far less seaworthy than, for instance, Sally Walker’s two titles on the subject.



The story of the first attack submarine’s drastically brief career and, nearly a century and a half later, rediscovery.

Even though it was, as the author artlessly puts it, “well-designed and well-crafted in the American spirit of invention,” the H.L. Hunley sank repeatedly in tests and never came back from its first mission in 1864. Rather than go into details about how the submarine worked (sort of), Hawk opts to extend her simply written version of its exploits with tangentially related chapters on the battle of Shiloh, the end of the Civil War, and an undocumented (she admits) legend that romantically links a gold coin found in the wreck with the sub’s captain, George Dixon, and a Southern belle named Queenie Bennet. Likewise, Wyrick’s uncaptioned reconstructions of battle scenes and the submarine underwater (which are not always placed near the actions they describe) don’t serve quite as well as the more informative period views of the vessel and its interior that have been used to illustrate other treatments. The account switches to photos and does go into somewhat more detail when describing how the wreck was found in 1995, raised in 2000, and transported to a lab; in a final chapter, a conservator and an archaeologist describe their still-ongoing restoration work.

A patchwork production, far less seaworthy than, for instance, Sally Walker’s two titles on the subject. (map, resource lists) (Nonfiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-61117-788-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Young Palmetto Books

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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