UNDERWEAR

WHAT WE WEAR UNDER THERE

Swain doesn’t really delve into her topic, but does provide a snappy general overview that is animated by O’Brien’s big, tongue-in-cheek cartoon illustrations. Opening with the rhetorical question “What is so funny about underwear?” she covers the subject chronologically, tracing the evolution of ancient breechclouts to modern disposable diapers, glancing at futuristic deodorizing fabrics, surveying ways that used undies are recycled, then closing with a timeline and a short list of “inside information” sources. The breezy text receives appropriately playful accompaniment from illustrations that depict women drifting from balconies to the floor, supported by parachute-like hoops, and union-suit–clad skaters on a frozen pond. The sense of fun, however, perhaps precludes an accurate rendition of the torture of corsets, indicated in the text but not reinforced by the images. Readers after a little more specific detail will find Kathy Shaskan’s How Underwear Got Under There: A Brief History (2007), illustrated by Regan Dunnick, a better fit—though Deborah Nourse Lattimore’s more-or-less work-safe pop-up, I Wonder What’s Under There? (1998) uncovers the basics better than any. (Informational picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-8234-1920-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2008

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A crisp historical vignette.

BEN'S REVOLUTION

BENJAMIN RUSSELL AND THE BATTLE OF BUNKER HILL

A boy experiences the Boston Tea Party, the response to the Intolerable Acts, and the battle at Breed’s Hill in Charlestown.

Philbrick has taken his Bunker Hill (2013), pulled from its 400 pages the pivotal moments, added a 12-year-old white boy—Benjamin Russell—as the pivot, and crafted a tale of what might have happened to him during those days of unrest in Boston from 1773 to 1775 (Russell was a real person). Philbrick explains, in plainspoken but gradually accelerating language, the tea tax, the Boston Tea Party, the Intolerable Acts, and the quartering of troops in Boston as well as the institution of a military government. Into this ferment, he introduces Benjamin Russell, where he went to school, his part-time apprenticeship at Isaiah Thomas’ newspaper, sledding down Beacon Hill, and the British officer who cleaned the cinders from the snow so the boys could sled farther and farther. It is these humanizing touches that make war its own intolerable act. Readers see Benjamin, courtesy of Minor’s misty gouache-and-watercolor tableaux, as he becomes stranded outside Boston Neck and becomes a clerk for the patriots. Significant characters are introduced, as is the geography of pre-landfilled Boston, to gain a good sense of why certain actions took place where they did. The final encounter at Breed’s Hill demonstrates how a battle can be won by retreating.

A crisp historical vignette. (maps, author’s note, illustrator’s note) (Historical fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: May 23, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-399-16674-7

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 14, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2017

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LOOK TO THE STARS

There’s no doubt about Aldrin’s passion for his subject nor his very specialized firsthand knowledge. And as always Minor’s paintings are attractive and detailed. Still this follow-up to Reaching for the Moon (2005) feels like an unnecessary addendum rather than a useful and intriguing supplement. The author offers an overview of space exploration, beginning with the contributions of Copernicus, Galileo and Newton and segueing into the work of the Wright brothers, Edwin Hubble and Robert Goddard. Brief descriptions of various NASA missions follow. His personal commentary offers a unique twist, but the brevity of the presentation—a double-page spread for each topic, the first few featuring multiple individuals—may leave readers feeling confused and overwhelmed rather than enlightened. A timeline helps to sort out the sequence of events, and its thumbnail illustrations serve as a sort of visual index, but even here there appears to be too much information squeezed into too small a space. More inspirational than informational, this may please aspiring space explorers but has the potential to leave many listeners in the dark. (Nonfiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-399-24721-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2009

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