Beginning in 1536 with Spanish explorer Cabeza de Vaca and ending with March 2, 2019’s Texas Independence Day, this boils down some 45 significant moments to dispatches from fictional newspaper correspondents.
An “agriculture correspondent” writes in 1887 about the windmill revolution changing farming, for instance, while the “space correspondent” reports in 1969 about the moon landing. Along the way are short informational boxes adding brief context, additional events taking place around the same time, or counterpoints to those stories. In their brevity, they often raise more questions than they answer, such as a brief paragraph about unspecified Native Americans that concludes, “Their artifacts are evidence of complex cultures.” The volume feels both dense, with lots and lots of text in tight columns, and selective in content, given the whole book is 42 pages long. Made in partnership with the Bullock Texas State History Museum, it’s a handsome hardback with lots of artwork and photos, but if its target audience is middle graders, the choice to present history in the form of a print-newspaper format seems questionably dated. Much more successfully executed is a large fold-out timeline of Texas history, a map, a showcase of notable spots to visit, the flags of Texas, and a Texas “honor roll” that has room for both Alamo defender Davy Crockett and Houston native Beyoncé.
Better used as a browsable research resource than an account to read straight through. (Nonfiction. 9-14)