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Fans of Terry Deary and Martin Brown’s Horrible Histories and their ilk are unlikely to consider this latest imitation more than an also-ran. Oliver surveys British history from the Isles’ Ice Age formation to the not-exactly-hot-off-the-presses 2005 news that London will host the 2012 Olympics. Though accurate enough in his broad picture, the author’s debatable facts (“…the Romans introduced really useful things such as toilets and even vegetables to the people of Britain”) and awkwardly written generalizations (“The Celtic kings consulted religious advisors to help them rule, known as druids”) drag the bland text down even further. Pinder's pen-and-ink illustrations attempt snark but too often fall flat: “That girl was always getting in my way,” remarks Bloody Mary as Lady Jane Grey’s newly severed head bounces by. This catalog of major British kings, queens, wars, pivotal events and cultural milestones is unlikely to entertain—much less resonate with—American audiences. (index, royal timeline) (Nonfiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-906082-72-7

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Buster/Trafalgar

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2010

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Thirteen prominent American men and women are briefly profiled in this collection. Chronologically ranging from Thomas Jefferson to Barack Obama, each entry features an inspiring quote from its subject and a concise explanation of his or her context in history. Opposite each page of text is a watercolor painting by the author depicting an image or montage of the notable individual and illustrating the work they achieved or how they lived. Each one evokes the emotions the book is meant to inspire: courage, strength and determination. Franklin Roosevelt gazes reassuringly out at readers above a line of hungry people at a soup kitchen; Rachel Carson smiles at readers against a picture of a soaring bald eagle and an inset of her peering into a microscope. The selection includes four women and five male ethnic minorities. Almost all are familiar faces in collective biographies, including Abraham Lincoln, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks, but some names may be new to young readers, such as Emma Lazarus and Cesar Chavez. Included in the backmatter are thumbnail biographies of each figure and a list of source notes. The profiles are indeed inspiring, and younger readers will likely learn something new. For deeper research, students will have to look elsewhere but could use this book as an excellent starting point. (Collective biography. 8-11)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-8225-6810-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Millbrook

Review Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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Part of Sobol’s Traveling Photographer series, this useful introduction to a famous tourist destination has unexpected child...

A photographer explores the ancient Cambodian temple and modern Siem Reap looking for odd angles, surprises and reflections of today's world in the ancient carvings.

As promised, except for a few traditional postcard images, these photographs are unusual and often feature the children who sell fruit and souvenirs at the monument gates and play among the 1,000-year-old ruins. The centerpiece is a photo album of modern Cambodian life with accompanying images of ancient carvings showing similar activities. Sobol weaves a brief explanation of the Khmer Empire and their ruined temple complex into his travelogue. He visits a dance studio, where he sees students practicing traditional gestures just like those of dancers on the temple walls, and a school where youngsters learn English. At the end, these children lead Sobol past the ancient trees and stone rubble in Ta Prohm to a surprising carving, their favorite. While not quite the secret Sobol portrays, since photographs of this curious creature have been available on the Web for several years, this image is sure to appeal to child readers as much as it does to visitors.

Part of Sobol’s Traveling Photographer series, this useful introduction to a famous tourist destination has unexpected child appeal. (facts, glossary, unlabeled world map) (Nonfiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-7636-4166-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2011

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