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Roots the Bible in the four elements; the sparse text and overly simplistic ending disappoint, but the images save the day.

The biblical story, from Creation through the Resurrection and beyond, summarized.

Focusing on the four elements, aka Them, Perkins begins with Creation: “One day, Creator came— / to sort the mess, / using Them to make Us. / Air. / Water. / Earth. / Fire.” Several spreads of the first man and woman enjoying the Garden of Eden and its flora and fauna follow. But then, “We said, ‘No, Creator,’ ” after which They also rose up against the couple: “Tornado. / Flood. / Earthquake. / Inferno.” Thus begins a war between nature and humans…until Redeemer comes, “using Them to serve Us.” The next spreads show Jesus’ ministry, using dirt to heal a blind man, water to wash feet, air to draw a last breath on the cross, and fire to cook fish for his friends after his resurrection. A final page, requiring a 90-degree turn of the book, shows an idyllic scene of people of various races and ages enjoying a park: “At peace— / Them and Us,” a rather misleading statement amid today’s natural disasters, climate change, and pollution that many children will recognize as patently facile and false. The illustrations by the Howdeshells, a married couple, are beautiful and full of meaning that partially fills in the vital missing pieces that Perkins’ spares verse leaves out. Still, those without a solid religious background will be lost. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Roots the Bible in the four elements; the sparse text and overly simplistic ending disappoint, but the images save the day. (Religious picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 20, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5064-8284-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Beaming Books

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2022

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From the The 50 States series

Go adventuring with a better guide.

Find something to do in every state in the U.S.A.!

This guide highlights a location of interest within each of the states, therefore excluding Washington, D.C., and the territories. Trivia about each location is scattered across crisply rendered landscapes that background each state’s double-page spread while diminutive, diverse characters populate the scenes. Befitting the title, one “adventure” is presented per state, such as shrimping in Louisiana’s bayous, snowshoeing in Connecticut, or celebrating the Fourth of July in Boston. While some are stereotypical gimmes (surfing in California), others have the virtue of novelty, at least for this audience, such as viewing the sandhill crane migration in Nebraska. Within this thematic unity, some details go astray, and readers may find themselves searching in vain for animals mentioned. The trivia is plentiful but may be misleading, vague, or incorrect. Information about the Native American peoples of the area is often included, but its brevity—especially regarding sacred locations—means readers are floundering without sufficient context. The same is true for many of the facts that relate directly to expansion and colonialism, such as the unexplained near extinction of bison. Describing the genealogical oral history of South Carolina’s Gullah community as “spin[ning] tales” is equally brusque and offensive. The book tries to do a lot, but it is more style than substance, which may leave readers bored, confused, slightly annoyed—or all three. (This book was reviewed digitally with 12.2-by-20.2-inch double-page spreads viewed at 80% of actual size.)

Go adventuring with a better guide. (tips on local adventuring, index) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7112-5445-9

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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From the Holidays & Heroes series

Important background for prospective voters.

An explanation of what general voting is for and why it is important.

In unusually (for the audience) frank if bare-bones fashion, deRubertis briefly chronicles the “long and bumpy” pursuit of universal suffrage in this country, from the first U.S. elections in which just 1 percent of the populace was qualified to vote at all up to the 30 percent turnout that resulted in 2016’s presidential debacle. Rightly observing that having a legal right to vote and being allowed to exercise it are two very different things, she charts the slow extension of the franchise to ethnic minorities and women (as well as a federal court’s retrograde 2000 exclusion of residents of Puerto Rico and other territories); names the first African-Americans, Native Americans, woman, and Chinese-American to be elected to the U.S. Senate; and surveys the civil rights protests that led to 1975’s expanded Voting Rights Act. Though she focuses largely on federal elections, state and local ones receive some attention. The Electoral College, voter-record security issues, and political parties go unmentioned, but the author does highlight low turnouts as a significant issue before closing with an eloquent summation of voting’s importance in a democratic society. Age, race, and gender diversity were plainly important considerations in choosing the generous selection of period portraits and scenes and recent stock photos, including the striking cover image of a smiling black woman at a podium.

Important background for prospective voters. (Nonfiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-63592-055-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kane Press

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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