Nevertheless, the visuals and rather challenging hide-and-seek component will make this a popular introduction to or...

MY WASHINGTON, DC

From Union Station to the Lincoln Memorial, Jakobsen’s double-page spreads depict the monuments and structures in Washington, D.C., that are highest in child appeal.

Readers are invited to search each diverse, Where’s Waldo–esque crowd for two white tourists named Becky and Martin, a cat, and a total of 40 eagles and 300 stars. It is the oil paintings, however, that make this book memorable. The artist captures the grandeur of the city’s classical marble columns and ornamentation as found inside the Capitol and the Library of Congress. Cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin and fireworks behind the Washington Monument are enlivened through vivid patches of pointillism; a gatefold opening offers scale regarding the obelisk. Jakobsen mentions selected items from three of the most popular museums and, in a current detail, includes a visit to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. She wisely chooses not to portray a particular president (thus immediately dating the presentation) but employs a folk-art style to squeeze an enormous quantity of presidential pets on the White House grounds. The narrative combines a rather contrived, first-person-plural travelogue with facts and legends; the seams show. It is also highly unlikely that two kids would visit 12 sites in one day, much less alone.

Nevertheless, the visuals and rather challenging hide-and-seek component will make this a popular introduction to or souvenir from the nation’s capital. (map, facts, websites, artist’s note) (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-316-12612-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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A crisp historical vignette.

BEN'S REVOLUTION

BENJAMIN RUSSELL AND THE BATTLE OF BUNKER HILL

A boy experiences the Boston Tea Party, the response to the Intolerable Acts, and the battle at Breed’s Hill in Charlestown.

Philbrick has taken his Bunker Hill (2013), pulled from its 400 pages the pivotal moments, added a 12-year-old white boy—Benjamin Russell—as the pivot, and crafted a tale of what might have happened to him during those days of unrest in Boston from 1773 to 1775 (Russell was a real person). Philbrick explains, in plainspoken but gradually accelerating language, the tea tax, the Boston Tea Party, the Intolerable Acts, and the quartering of troops in Boston as well as the institution of a military government. Into this ferment, he introduces Benjamin Russell, where he went to school, his part-time apprenticeship at Isaiah Thomas’ newspaper, sledding down Beacon Hill, and the British officer who cleaned the cinders from the snow so the boys could sled farther and farther. It is these humanizing touches that make war its own intolerable act. Readers see Benjamin, courtesy of Minor’s misty gouache-and-watercolor tableaux, as he becomes stranded outside Boston Neck and becomes a clerk for the patriots. Significant characters are introduced, as is the geography of pre-landfilled Boston, to gain a good sense of why certain actions took place where they did. The final encounter at Breed’s Hill demonstrates how a battle can be won by retreating.

A crisp historical vignette. (maps, author’s note, illustrator’s note) (Historical fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: May 23, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-399-16674-7

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 14, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2017

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Vivid, absorbing, and inspiring.

REVOLUTIONARY PRUDENCE WRIGHT

LEADING THE MINUTE WOMEN IN THE FIGHT FOR INDEPENDENCE

From the time she was a young girl, Prudence Wright “had a spark of independence.”

The story begins with a brief recounting of various ways young Prudence defied traditional gender roles while growing up in Pepperell, Massachusetts Colony, including outperforming boys at school, hunting, fishing, and debating her brothers on political issues. As she grows older, Prudence fumes at King George III’s increasingly punitive laws, which include onerous taxes on British goods. In 1773, when the men of Pepperell vote to join the Colony’s resistance to British rule and begin training in militias, Prudence and the women in her quilting circle stage their own rebellion by dumping British tea into a bonfire on the town common and boycotting other British goods. As King George clamps down on protests, the colonists declare war. While most of Pepperell’s men are away fighting in skirmishes, Prudence discovers that Tory spies are planning to infiltrate the town and organizes the townswomen to defend it. She leads the lasses—armed and dressed in men’s clothing—in a dramatic ambush on Pepperell’s bridge, making revolutionary history as head of “the first-ever unit of minute women.” Reagan’s accomplished illustrations, executed in watercolor with digital drawing, add historical veracity to Anderson’s superbly documented, at times hair-raising narrative. The author explicitly situates Wright and her female comrades as pioneers who “proved themselves as full citizens” in an era before female enfranchisement. Most characters are White, but a few of the colonists present as people of color.

Vivid, absorbing, and inspiring. (afterword, author’s note, illustrator’s note, bibliography) (Historical fiction/picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-64472-057-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Calkins Creek/Astra Books for Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2021

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