Readable and informative.

Facts, quotes, anecdotes, and visual images tell the combined history of the 1918 flu epidemic and World War I, emphasizing the role of disease in changing history.

The introduction and nine chapters open with apt quotes, usually followed by a personal story, such as one in which a 16-year-old Walt Disney contracts the flu during Red Cross training. Statistics underscore the power of the epidemic, in which 100 million may have died worldwide. The ties between the war and the epidemic are made clear throughout. The first case was reported in an army camp in Kansas. Troops spread the disease around the U.S. and brought it to Europe, where it killed combatants on both sides of the war. Civilians caught it at schools and parades, and with no cure available, it was devastating. Although most of the medical, political, and military figures introduced are white males, brief sections discuss racism and the flu, relating stories about Native Alaskans on the Seward Peninsula and an Ogala family in Nebraska. Adequate black-and-white photographs break up the text every few pages. The smooth narrative excels at connecting the epidemic and the war but assumes a modicum of background knowledge about the war and occasionally suffers from repetitiveness. A 40-page appendix reviews the role of disease in history.

Readable and informative. (notes, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 11-15)

Pub Date: May 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-14512-3

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018



If Freedman wrote the history textbooks, we would have many more historians. Beginning with an engrossing description of the Boston Tea Party in 1773, he brings the reader the lives of the American colonists and the events leading up to the break with England. The narrative approach to history reads like a good story, yet Freedman tucks in the data that give depth to it. The inclusion of all the people who lived during those times and the roles they played, whether small or large are acknowledged with dignity. The story moves backwards from the Boston Tea Party to the beginning of the European settlement of what they called the New World, and then proceeds chronologically to the signing of the Declaration. “Your Rights and Mine” traces the influence of the document from its inception to the present ending with Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. The full text of the Declaration and a reproduction of the original are included. A chronology of events and an index are helpful to the young researcher. Another interesting feature is “Visiting the Declaration of Independence.” It contains a short review of what happened to the document in the years after it was written, a useful Web site, and a description of how it is displayed and protected today at the National Archives building in Washington, D.C. Illustrations from the period add interest and detail. An excellent addition to the American history collection and an engrossing read. (Nonfiction. 9-13)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-8234-1448-5

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2000




A well-intentioned description of life before birth. The illustrations make use of photographs (including ultrasound) and artist’s drawings, often in the same image, and these are well used to clarify the text. How babies grow and develop inside the womb is both described and illustrated, and while the tone is one of forced cheer, the information is sound. Also offered are quite silly exercises for children to experience what life in the womb might be like, such as listening to a dishwasher to experience the sounds a baby hears inside its mother’s body, or being held under a towel or blanket by an adult and wiggling about. The getting-together of sperm and egg is lightly passed over, as is the actual process of birth. But children may be mesmerized by the drawings of the growing child inside the mother, and what activities predate their birth dates. Not an essential purchase, but adequate as an addition to the collection. (Picture book/nonfiction. 4-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2000

ISBN: 1-894379-01-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Firefly

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2000

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