DEATH OF THE IRON HORSE

Goble's unmistakable graphic style—white outlines around blocks of color, pattern and silhouette and gracious white spaces—has never been used to better advantage. The successful derailment of a freight train by Cheyenne Indians is the unusual subject for this picture book, which achieves a surprising array of effects, some the more powerful for their sensitive understatement. A shaman had prophesied an influx of hairy people from the East. When white men arrived (the US Army, coming to drive Indians onto reservations), the Indians put up the kind of fight beleaguered people can be expected to make. The story's conflict is centered on an attempt to stop the steam-powered train, the Iron Horse, stories of which had terrorized children and adults alike. In a stunning drawing done from an overhead perspective, the freight cars are shown splayed every which way, with a man's body, bristling with arrows, fallen at the side. The celebration of the Indian braves, trailing behind them bolts of printed fabric they have' taken from the slaughtered Iron Horse, is a visual and emotional delight. The Indians were bound to lose this battle; the final drawing, which shows an Amtrak train racing across a landscape littered with soda bottles and cans, laced overhead with power lines and crossed by the ominous shadows of military jets, gives reason to consider the true right and wrong of the conflict. Once again, Goble distinguishes himself as a sensitive and honest storyteller and historian, and as an artist of enduring merit.

Pub Date: March 1, 1987

ISBN: 0689716869

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Bradbury

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1987

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Don’t miss this brave hero as she confronts anti-immigrant hatred in a timely historical novel.

THREE KEYS

From the Front Desk series

Sixth grader Mia Tang returns to battle racism in this thrilling sequel to the Asian/Pacific American Award–winning Front Desk (2018).

The Tangs, who emigrated from China when Mia was little, are now the proud owners of the Calivista Motel. Mia works the front desk along with her friends Lupe Garcia, who is Mexican, and Jason Yao, who is Chinese. Her world quickly becomes clouded by the upcoming election, in which California’s Prop 187, which would ban undocumented immigrants from access to health care and public schooling, is on the ballot. The author’s note highlights personal experiences with racism and provides additional information on this historic vote. The storyline expertly weaves together the progress and setbacks Mia experiences as her family continues to work, seemingly endlessly on the edge of poverty. Lupe reveals that her family is undocumented, creating a portrait of fear as her father is jailed. The impending vote has significant consequences for all immigrants, not just the Garcias, as racial threats increase. With the help of a cast of strong supporting characters, Mia bravely uses her voice and her pen to change opinions—with family, friends, teachers, and even voters. The lessons she learns helping her friends become the key to addressing racism, as one wise friend advises: “You gotta listen, you gotta care, and most importantly, you gotta keep trying.”

Don’t miss this brave hero as she confronts anti-immigrant hatred in a timely historical novel.   (author’s note) (Historical fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-59138-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2020

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A deftly told story that dramatizes how Danes appointed themselves bodyguards—not only for their king, who was in the habit...

NUMBER THE STARS

The author of the Anastasia books as well as more serious fiction (Rabble Starkey, 1987) offers her first historical fiction—a story about the escape of the Jews from Denmark in 1943.

Five years younger than Lisa in Carol Matas' Lisa's War (1989), Annemarie Johansen has, at 10, known three years of Nazi occupation. Though ever cautious and fearful of the ubiquitous soldiers, she is largely unaware of the extent of the danger around her; the Resistance kept even its participants safer by telling them as little as possible, and Annemarie has never been told that her older sister Lise died in its service. When the Germans plan to round up the Jews, the Johansens take in Annemarie's friend, Ellen Rosen, and pretend she is their daughter; later, they travel to Uncle Hendrik's house on the coast, where the Rosens and other Jews are transported by fishing boat to Sweden. Apart from Lise's offstage death, there is little violence here; like Annemarie, the reader is protected from the full implications of events—but will be caught up in the suspense and menace of several encounters with soldiers and in Annemarie's courageous run as courier on the night of the escape. The book concludes with the Jews' return, after the war, to homes well kept for them by their neighbors.

A deftly told story that dramatizes how Danes appointed themselves bodyguards—not only for their king, who was in the habit of riding alone in Copenhagen, but for their Jews. (Historical fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: April 1, 1989

ISBN: 0547577095

Page Count: 156

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1989

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