From the Creepy and True series , Vol. 1

Mummy books cram the shelves, but this one won’t stay buried for long.

Hollihan unwraps the skinny on human mummies of both the distant past and more recent times.

Leaving few if any double-entendres unturned, the author highlights prominent examples of both artificially preserved corpses and those that have survived (so to speak) due to natural causes. The roster includes the familiar likes of King Tut, Lenin, and China’s Lady Dai as well as lower-profile remains such as the tattooed Altai Princess, the “Moche muchacha” Lady of Cao, and the 262 former residents of Vác, Hungary, found during a church renovation in 1994. In introducing her subjects, she recounts initial encounters, describes sites and physical states in “easy queasy” detail, and clearly explains the techniques researchers use in field and lab to reconstruct each discovery’s life, demise, and culture. Complex issues of cultural appropriation raised by disturbing and removing the dead versus preserving the safety of ancient sites, particularly in the face of climate change, also receive respectful notice. Along with an array of boxed side notes—a bulleted list of the stages of decomposition (“The skin turns blue-green”) being typically informative—and numerous close-up color photos of variously decomposed bodies and body parts, generous chapter-by-chapter sets of endnotes and of print and web resources add further layers of interest and value to this series opener.

Mummy books cram the shelves, but this one won’t stay buried for long. (index) (Nonfiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3167-9

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Jan. 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019



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




Logically pointing out that the American cowboy archetype didn’t spring up from nowhere, Sandler, author of Cowboys (1994) and other volumes in the superficial, if luxuriously illustrated, “Library of Congress Book” series, looks back over 400 years of cattle tending in North America. His coverage ranges from the livestock carried on Columbus’s second voyage to today’s herding-by-helicopter operations. Here, too, the generous array of dramatic early prints, paintings, and photos are more likely to capture readers’ imaginations than the generality-ridden text. But among his vague comments about the characters, values, and culture passed by Mexican vaqueros to later arrivals from the Eastern US, Sadler intersperses nods to the gauchos, llaneros, and other South American “cowmen,” plus the paniolos of Hawaii, and the renowned African-American cowboys. He also decries the role film and popular literature have played in suppressing the vaqueros’ place in the history of the American West. He tackles an uncommon topic, and will broaden the historical perspective of many young cowboy fans, but his glance at modern vaqueros seems to stop at this country’s borders. Young readers will get a far more detailed, vivid picture of vaquero life and work from the cowboy classics in his annotated bibliography. (Notes, glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 15, 2001

ISBN: 0-8050-6019-7

Page Count: 116

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2000

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