Lauber follows up What You Never Knew About Tubs, Toilets, & Showers (2001) with another quick tour through domestic history, taking readers from prehistoric times to campouts and sleepovers, with pauses for glimpses at “Great Moments in Nightclothes” and a recapitulative “Great Moments in Bed History.” Separating the easily digestible passages of text, Manders’s comical, cartoon-style scenes feature figures in historical dress and brief comments in dialogue balloons. Aside from a single reference to “other parts of the world” and a closing vignette of a sleeper on a futon, this presents an entirely Eurocentric picture, and Lauber’s dismissal of the Middle Ages as only a “bridge” between the ancient and modern worlds is a minority view nowadays. But, these glimpses of what people wore, what they slept on and what shared their beds will please casual browsers. Young readers in search of more specific facts will do better with Ruth Freeman Swain’s Bedtime! (1999), illustrated by Cat Bowman Smith. (source list) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Nov. 28, 2006

ISBN: 0-689-85211-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2006


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



Koller (Bouncing on the Bed, p. 143, etc.) portrays a Narragansett nickommoh, or celebratory gathering, from which it is very likely the tradition of Thanksgiving was drawn. As explained in an exemplary note—brief, clear, interesting—at the end of the book, these gatherings occurred 13 times a year, once each lunar month. The harvest gathering is one of the larger gatherings: a great lodge was built, copious food was prepared, and music and dance extended deep into the night. Koller laces the text with a good selection of Narragansett words, found in the glossary (although there is no key to pronunciation, even for words such as Taqountikeeswush and Puttuckquapuonck). The text is written as a chanted prose poem, with much repetition, which can be both incantatory and hackneyed, as when “frost lies thick on the fields at dawn, and the winged ones pass overhead in great numbers.” Mostly the phrases are stirring—as are Sewall’s scratchboard evocations—and often inspirational—for this nickommoh puts to shame what has become known as the day before the launch of the holiday shopping season. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-689-81094-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1999

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