CHOCOLATE

RICHES FROM THE RAINFOREST

Chocolate is more than just the favorite flavor of millions of people. To some it borders on addiction; ask any “chocoholic.” The Aztecs and other ancient cultures used the cacao seeds as currency. The Maya offered chocolate to their gods. Chocolate was only known in liquid form until the mid–19th century. At some point it became a symbol of romantic love. Using accessible, even chatty language, Burleigh has undertaken to present a history of chocolate consumption along with detailed explanations of the chocolate-making process as it has evolved over the centuries. It is a story filled with fascinating facts and anecdotes, as it encompasses much of world history, from the age of exploration to modern times. It contains elements of ancient civilizations, religious ritual, conquest, slavery, social and economic class systems, intrigue, industrialization, ecological exploitation, and more. Information is presented clearly, and with reasonable objectivity, including both positive and negative aspects of past and present chocolate production processes. Copiously illustrated with photographs, diagrams, and paintings provided by the Field Museum of Chicago, the format is visually and graphically interesting and appealing. Text is presented in varying sizes, fonts, and colors, and at times overlays, is surrounded by, or is incorporated into the illustrative material. A glossary is included that defines or redefines most of the terms used in the text. A well-conceived and executed work on a subject of great interest. (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-8109-5734-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2002

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IF YOU LIVED DURING THE PLIMOTH THANKSGIVING

A measured corrective to pervasive myths about what is often referred to as the “first Thanksgiving.”

Contextualizing them within a Native perspective, Newell (Passamaquoddy) touches on the all-too-familiar elements of the U.S. holiday of Thanksgiving and its origins and the history of English colonization in the territory now known as New England. In addition to the voyage and landfall of the Mayflower, readers learn about the Doctrine of Discovery that arrogated the lands of non-Christian peoples to European settlers; earlier encounters between the Indigenous peoples of the region and Europeans; and the Great Dying of 1616-1619, which emptied the village of Patuxet by 1620. Short, two- to six-page chapters alternate between the story of the English settlers and exploring the complex political makeup of the region and the culture, agriculture, and technology of the Wampanoag—all before covering the evolution of the holiday. Refreshingly, the lens Newell offers is a Native one, describing how the Wampanoag and other Native peoples received the English rather than the other way around. Key words ranging from estuary to discover are printed in boldface in the narrative and defined in a closing glossary. Nelson (a member of the Leech Lake Band of Minnesota Chippewa) contributes soft line-and-color illustrations of the proceedings. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Essential. (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-72637-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Scholastic Nonfiction

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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FARMER GEORGE PLANTS A NATION

A pleasing new picture book looks at George Washington’s career through an agricultural lens. Sprinkling excerpts from his letters and diaries throughout to allow its subject to speak in his own voice, the narrative makes a convincing case for Washington’s place as the nation’s First Farmer. His innovations, in addition to applying the scientific method to compost, include a combination plow-tiller-harrow, the popularization of the mule and a two-level barn that put horses to work at threshing grain in any weather. Thomas integrates Washington’s military and political adventures into her account, making clear that it was his frustration as a farmer that caused him to join the revolutionary cause. Lane’s oil illustrations, while sometimes stiff, appropriately portray a man who was happiest when working the land. Backmatter includes a timeline, author’s notes on both Mount Vernon and Washington the slaveholder, resources for further exploration and a bibliography. (Picture book/biography. 8-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-1-59078-460-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2008

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