A veteran author jokingly creates puns on the names of famous figures in this brief introduction to history makers.
Beginning with Mark Train and steaming ahead to such luminaries as Lionardo da Vinci (the artist and inventor’s familiar robes are placed on a regal-looking lion) and Harriet Tubwoman (standing in an attic bathtub with a rifle attached), DiSilvio (Short Stories, 2017, etc.) teases readers with information about each figure. George WashingMachine, for example, “washed the colonies clean of the British Redcoats!” Queen Victrolia (whose mouth is replaced by a phonograph speaker) notes that she once held the longest record as ruler of Britain. Some puns are a bit dated, including Victrolia and Mary Cassette (many young readers will never have seen either a Victrola or a cassette in an era of digital music). And because each entry is short, the audience is unlikely to learn many facts. But the author’s excellent visuals fill in the gaps. The mixed-media, photo-collage images carry the humor of the book; their sheer, joyful weirdness is likely to have readers doing double takes and revisiting the wacky work. About a third of the entries are focused on women; only two are people of color, though many European nationalities are represented.
An amusing picture book with strong illustrations that should whet readers’ appetites for heftier historical fare.