A thoroughgoing but sprightly biography of a fascinating outlander in our midst.

READ REVIEW

MYSTERIOUS BONES

THE STORY OF KENNEWICK MAN

Unlike Piltdown Man or Nebraska Man, Kennewick Man was the real, hoary deal, and Kirkpatrick here introduces him to young readers.

He was found in remarkable condition near the Columbia River in Washington just 15 years ago, in 1996—one of the oldest and most complete skeletons found in America. Kirkpatrick first addresses the controversy surrounding the treatment of his remains. How to balance the benefits to knowledge the skeleton might reveal while also respecting customs and traditions that are at odds with tampering with ancestral bones? It took nine years in the courtroom before a judge decided Kennewick’s bones could be tested; it was deemed that he was not a direct ancestor of any modern group. The author handles the other side of the story with equally unhurried thoughtfulness: what Kennewick Man tells us about himself. His mysteries are slowly uncovered—what he ate, why there was a spearhead lodged in his hip bone and what about that dent in his forehead, the nature of his landscape and lifestyle. There are plenty of questions left unanswered, like, who was this stranger? Polynesian or Ainnu or Jomon or…? How did he get here? Excellent illustrations accompany the story, with crisp line-drawings of tools, skeletons, maps and possible facial reconstructions.

A thoroughgoing but sprightly biography of a fascinating outlander in our midst. (glossary, timeline, bibliography, notes, index) (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: July 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-8234-2187-9

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2011

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Go adventuring with a better guide.

50 ADVENTURES IN THE 50 STATES

From the The 50 States series

Find something to do in every state in the U.S.A.!

This guide highlights a location of interest within each of the states, therefore excluding Washington, D.C., and the territories. Trivia about each location is scattered across crisply rendered landscapes that background each state’s double-page spread while diminutive, diverse characters populate the scenes. Befitting the title, one “adventure” is presented per state, such as shrimping in Louisiana’s bayous, snowshoeing in Connecticut, or celebrating the Fourth of July in Boston. While some are stereotypical gimmes (surfing in California), others have the virtue of novelty, at least for this audience, such as viewing the sandhill crane migration in Nebraska. Within this thematic unity, some details go astray, and readers may find themselves searching in vain for animals mentioned. The trivia is plentiful but may be misleading, vague, or incorrect. Information about the Native American peoples of the area is often included, but its brevity—especially regarding sacred locations—means readers are floundering without sufficient context. The same is true for many of the facts that relate directly to expansion and colonialism, such as the unexplained near extinction of bison. Describing the genealogical oral history of South Carolina’s Gullah community as “spin[ning] tales” is equally brusque and offensive. The book tries to do a lot, but it is more style than substance, which may leave readers bored, confused, slightly annoyed—or all three. (This book was reviewed digitally with 12.2-by-20.2-inch double-page spreads viewed at 80% of actual size.)

Go adventuring with a better guide. (tips on local adventuring, index) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7112-5445-9

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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MAMMOTH BONES AND BROKEN STONES

THE MYSTERY OF NORTH AMERICA'S FIRST PEOPLE

How and when the Western Hemisphere, particularly North and South America, came to be populated continues to be both mysterious and controversial for scientists. Archaeologists plug away with the tools at their disposal but have “more questions than answers.” Harrison does a good job setting the issue in context. He describes the earliest efforts to identify the original inhabitants of the continents, exploring the Clovis culture, believed by many to be the first humans to reach North America. After clearly explaining how scholars decided that they were first, he then lists the arguments against this hypothesis. In the course of looking at both sides, he introduces young readers to “the strict rules of archaeology.” The author demonstrates the precise work of those attempting to understand the hidden aspects of human history and how many of these old questions are seen in the light of new technologies and discoveries. The narrative is aided by both photographs and original illustrations that imagine scenes from both the distant past and the field experiences. (glossary, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-59078-561-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2010

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