With the handsome treatment readers have come to expect, Bial presents the history of the New York Harbor immigration station that processed a good half of the immigrants coming to America between 1892 and 1924. In economical prose, he sketches in early immigration patterns and practices, explains the establishment of the immigration station at the beginning of the federal government’s oversight of the process, describes its building (and rebuilding after a fire burned the first structure), the Atlantic voyage, the hopefuls’ passage through the various examinations, their occasional detention and refusal at the border, its closing after World War I and its renaissance as a tourist site. Illustrated with the author’s photographs of the current museum as well as archival images, the account is further enriched by frequent quotes from those who passed through its doors. Although high points receive more attention than low ones, it is overall a measured account, although limited by its brevity. Suggestions for further reading include titles for both adults and children. (Nonfiction. 9-13)

Pub Date: May 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-618-99943-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2009



Like oil itself, this is a book that needs to be handled with special care.

In 1977, the oil carrier Exxon Valdez spilled 11 million gallons of oil into a formerly pristine Alaskan ocean inlet, killing millions of birds, animals, and fish. Despite a cleanup, crude oil is still there.

The Winters foretold the destructive powers of the atomic bomb allusively in The Secret Project (2017), leaving the actuality to the backmatter. They make no such accommodations to young audiences in this disturbing book. From the dark front cover, on which oily blobs conceal a seabird, to the rescuer’s sad face on the back, the mother-son team emphasizes the disaster. A relatively easy-to-read and poetically heightened text introduces the situation. Oil is pumped from the Earth “all day long, all night long, / day after day, year after year” in “what had been unspoiled land, home to Native people // and thousands of caribou.” The scale of extraction is huge: There’s “a giant pipeline” leading to “enormous ships.” Then, crash. Rivers of oil gush out over three full-bleed wordless pages. Subsequent scenes show rocks, seabirds, and sea otters covered with oil. Finally, 30 years later, animals have returned to a cheerful scene. “But if you lift a rock… // oil / seeps / up.” For an adult reader, this is heartbreaking. How much more difficult might this be for an animal-loving child?

Like oil itself, this is a book that needs to be handled with special care. (author’s note, further reading) (Informational picture book. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 31, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3077-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019



Partly filling the historical gap between their New Americans: Colonial Times, 1620-1689 (1998) and A More Perfect Union: The Story of Our Constitution (1987), the Maestros examine King William’s War, Queen Anne’s War, the War of Jenkins’ Ear, and other half-forgotten conflicts usually lumped together as the French and Indian Wars. Concluding that these wars were fought for economic control of North America and paralleled the first stirrings of a sense of national unity, the authors trace the growth of trade routes and other lines of communication. They also pay close attention to the wars’ consistently lamentable effects on the Native American groups allied with either the French or the British forces. Though much of the fighting and strategic maneuvering took place in what is now Canada, the Maestros take their most widely angled views of territories that became part of the United States. With plenty of precisely drafted battle scenes, street plans, portraits, maps, and landscapes, plus a spread of additional information on topics as diverse as colonial money and the Iroquois League, they bring a formative era in our country’s history into sharp focus for young readers. (index) (Nonfiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: Aug. 31, 2000

ISBN: 0-688-13450-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2000

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