SHAKER CHILDREN

TRUE STORIES AND CRAFTS

Most young readers know so little about this nearly moribund Utopian community that any new book on the subject should be welcome—but not this one. The first half tells the true stories of two children who lived in Shaker communities. Of curiosity to contemporary readers is that the children don't seem very upset at being separated from their families. They adapt to Shaker ways, in an account that is little more than a superficial overview of a complex and often demanding way of life. Many terms are introduced and never really explained (e.g., needle emeries), neither in context nor in the brief glossary. The second half of the book—devoted to activities—is really problematic. Even experienced adult cooks are leery of making jam/jelly (the author uses the terms interchangeably), an activity that is downright dangerous for children. Many of the recipes are beyond the abilities of preteens, and the other activities can be quite ambitious, e.g., planting a ten-foot-square garden, often without clear instructions. Included is a bibliography of adult books; it fails to include the half-dozen titles—in print and still being read- -available for young readers, any of which provide far more solid information than this title does. (b&w photos and illustrations, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: April 1, 1996

ISBN: 1-55652-250-9

Page Count: 122

Publisher: Chicago Review Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1996

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The car gets shortchanged, but comparing the divergent career paths of its (putative) two riders may give readers food for...

TWO MEN AND A CAR

FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT, AL CAPONE, AND A CADILLAC V-8

A custom-built, bulletproof limo links two historical figures who were pre-eminent in more or less different spheres.

Garland admits that a claim that FDR was driven to Congress to deliver his “Day of Infamy” speech in a car that once belonged to Capone rests on shaky evidence. He nonetheless uses the anecdote as a launchpad for twin portraits of contemporaries who occupy unique niches in this country’s history but had little in common. Both were smart, ambitious New Yorkers and were young when their fathers died, but they definitely “headed in opposite directions.” As he fills his biographical sketches with standard-issue facts and has disappointingly little to say about the car itself (which was commissioned by Capone in 1928 and still survives), this outing seems largely intended to be a vehicle for the dark, heavy illustrations. These are done in muted hues with densely scratched surfaces and angled so that the two men, the period backgrounds against which they are posed, and the car have monumental looks. It’s a reach to bill this, as the author does, a “story about America,” but it does at least offer a study in contrasts featuring two of America’s most renowned citizens. Most of the human figures are white in the art, but some group scenes include a few with darker skin.

The car gets shortchanged, but comparing the divergent career paths of its (putative) two riders may give readers food for thought. (timeline, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 10-12)

Pub Date: March 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-88448-620-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Tilbury House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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Wheeler offers a scrapbook-style travelogue of her seven-month stint on the world’s coldest continent. Letters to her...

GREETINGS FROM ANTARCTICA

            In an eye-opening companion to such works as Jennifer Armstrong’s Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World (1999) and Elizabeth Cody Kimmel’s Ice Story (p.  66) on Shackleton, readers get a contemporary look at Antarctica.

            Wheeler offers a scrapbook-style travelogue of her seven-month stint on the world’s coldest continent.  Letters to her godson, Daniel, describe a harsh environment so cold that dental fillings fall out.  Double-page spreads dotted with full-color snapshots form short chapters on the icy region, suiting up, the difficulties of everyday existence, food and drink, shelter, transportation, entertainment, and wildlife.  The last third of the volume is devoted to current scientific pursuits as well as an overview of famous expeditions to the nearly uninhabitable “bottom of the planet.”  The cheery photographs – most by the author – show her dwarfed by the Barne glacier, posing with Emperor penguins, even building an igloo.  While the chatty letters highlight personal details of the trip, boxed inserts provide background information.  Key dates in Antarctic history complete this accessible profile, ideal as entry into units on the region.  (maps, charts, diagrams, further reading, index)  (Nonfiction.  8-12)

Pub Date: July 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-87226-295-2

Page Count: 44

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1999

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