A promising start to a new series.

READ REVIEW

WHAT SANK THE WORLDS BIGGEST SHIP?

From the Good Question series

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, this volume inaugurates a new series that employs a question-and-answer format to convey essential information.

Here, the format works quite well, the questions being the ones that have so fascinated people ever since the tragedy occurred. Why did everyone think the Titanic was unsinkable? How could an iceberg appear out of nowhere? Did the telegraph operator ignore an important message? What happened to the stranded passengers? The answers are written in clear prose full of fascinating details: The ship was “the largest human-made moving object in the world”; “The propellers were as wide as houses”; “Using cheap rivets likely cost 1,500 lives.” Paintings, photographs, maps and a timeline complement the text to offer a fascinating account for young readers who love information. Besides the questions that head each section, there are questions within the answers: Who was at fault? Why was the ship traveling so fast in an ice field? “Why didn’t the lookouts have binoculars?” The format is irresistible, each answer just long enough to provide essential information. Unfortunately, there is no bibliography that could lead readers to other good books on the subject, but overall this will be a sure hit with young readers.

A promising start to a new series. (Nonfiction. 7-11)

Pub Date: April 3, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4027-9627-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: Feb. 15, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2012

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Visually attractive but cursory.

GREAT STREETS OF THE WORLD

FROM LONDON TO SAN FRANCISCO

Readers are invited to wander Regent Street in London, La Rambla in Barcelona, Rynok Square in Lviv, Ukraine, and Hàng Bac in Hanoi, among others.

A well-traveled adult or even an armchair traveler may appreciate the lively sketches, emphasizing the architecture, transportation, and crowds in these busy urban sites. Will children? Perhaps not, despite the inclusion of some unusual global locales, such as the Rue de Bougounni, a large marketplace in Bamako, Mali, and Hatogaya, in Shirakawa, Japan, a historic street with “sloping, thatched roofs [that] prevent snow from piling up on top of the houses.” A few children are pictured having fun: Two kids play soccer in the Calleja de las Flores in Córdoba, Spain, and two other children make a snowman in the Japanese spread. Other kids are depicted walking alongside adults. The facts accompanying the illustrations are sometimes inadequate. The Anne Frank House receives prominent mention in the paragraph about Amsterdam’s Prinsengracht, but it’s impossible to tell whether it’s in the picture. The text about Calle 3 in Medellín, Colombia, mentions that “ten years ago, its residents barely dared to go outside” due to “the constant clashes between the army and drug gangs.” Without a specific year, the reference will be meaningless in the future. There is no map showing the various cities, nor any resources for readers motivated to learn more.

Visually attractive but cursory. (Informational picture book. 8-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-3-7913-7403-1

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Prestel

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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A patchwork production, far less seaworthy than, for instance, Sally Walker’s two titles on the subject.

THE H.L. HUNLEY SUBMARINE

HISTORY AND MYSTERY FROM THE CIVIL WAR

The story of the first attack submarine’s drastically brief career and, nearly a century and a half later, rediscovery.

Even though it was, as the author artlessly puts it, “well-designed and well-crafted in the American spirit of invention,” the H.L. Hunley sank repeatedly in tests and never came back from its first mission in 1864. Rather than go into details about how the submarine worked (sort of), Hawk opts to extend her simply written version of its exploits with tangentially related chapters on the battle of Shiloh, the end of the Civil War, and an undocumented (she admits) legend that romantically links a gold coin found in the wreck with the sub’s captain, George Dixon, and a Southern belle named Queenie Bennet. Likewise, Wyrick’s uncaptioned reconstructions of battle scenes and the submarine underwater (which are not always placed near the actions they describe) don’t serve quite as well as the more informative period views of the vessel and its interior that have been used to illustrate other treatments. The account switches to photos and does go into somewhat more detail when describing how the wreck was found in 1995, raised in 2000, and transported to a lab; in a final chapter, a conservator and an archaeologist describe their still-ongoing restoration work.

A patchwork production, far less seaworthy than, for instance, Sally Walker’s two titles on the subject. (map, resource lists) (Nonfiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-61117-788-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Young Palmetto Books

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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