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 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2006

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Go adventuring with a better guide.


From the The 50 States series

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 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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A fiery and inspiring look at a pivotal period in U.S. history.


From the If You Lived series

A brief history of the Underground Railroad, with tributes to some of its most successful conductors.

Part of a relaunch of the If You Lived series, this title takes on the same subject and question-and-answer format as Ellen Levine’s 1988 book of the same name but is otherwise different. Where Levine’s book referred to you, Wilkins uses they and them to refer to those who sought to escape enslavement. And where Levine’s book explored the roles of White abolitionists like Harriet Beecher Stowe and William Lloyd Garrison, Wilkins highlights the heroic achievements of conductors of African descent, from Harriet Tubman to William Still and David Ruggles. In her narrative, Wilkins creates vivid pictures of the journey’s dangers as well as of the day-to-day brutality of slavery, beginning with the arrival of White enslavers to Africa in 1501 and the arrival of African captives in North America in 1619. She highlights the roles of women, including early escapee Harriet Powell and Harriet Scott, who sued for freedom right along with her better-known husband, Dred. In Walthall’s illustrations, individualized brown faces in diverse hues with fearful, courageous, or dignified expressions predominate, leading up to a final march that crosses eras to modern times. “The Underground Railroad may be part of history now,” the author concludes, “but the fight for freedoms and reparations for African people and their descendants lives on.”

A fiery and inspiring look at a pivotal period in U.S. history. (additional reading, glossary) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-338-78892-1

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2022

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