Perforce superficial but tailor-made to lay out, and with, on a clear stretch of floor.



Thirteen accordion-folded feet of North American history.

Printed on both sides and parading chronologically over the past 13,000 years, this panoramic timeline includes some notes on the continent’s natural history but leans largely toward human events and cultures—from an observation about the sophisticated medical practices of the ancient Aleuts (dated 10,000 B.C.E.) to the election in 2019 of two women of Indigenous heritage to the U.S. Congress. Along with using careful, respectful language when referring to Native groups and “enslaved people,” Albee highlights women, both in general comments about their influence in various cultures and by adding several, such as Mexico’s Sor Juana and Canada’s Laura Secord, to her select roster of significant historical figures. This evenhanded approach also comes out in, for instance, a comment that the U.S. earned its independence with “a ragtag army and a lot of help from France,” references to “white emigrants” moving westward in the 19th century, and the dates when all three North American countries entered World War II. Exley uses both general placement and a four-color system to differentiate small scenes and figures in northern, central, southern, or Caribbean regions. Sandwiched between maps of the continent, his impressionistic background landscapes occasionally give way to watery stretches that provide both additional information about select topics and visual relief.

Perforce superficial but tailor-made to lay out, and with, on a clear stretch of floor. (index, resource lists) (Informational novelty. 7-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-9999679-2-5

Page Count: 22

Publisher: What on Earth Books

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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An empowering choice.


Shamir and Faulkner take readers on a trip through various moments in U.S. history as they explore the democratic process.

The text begins in 1884, when a young man rides for hours to deliver his local ballot box in the state of Nebraska. The book then jumps in nonlinear fashion from key moment to key moment, explaining its importance: Native Americans were granted citizenship in 1924 (their status as members of sovereign nations goes unmentioned); the emergency number 911 was created in 1968; George Washington was the only presidential candidate ever to run unopposed. The information is divided into general paragraphs that begin with a question and text boxes that supply trivia and provide additional context to the paragraphs. Children’s and teens’ roles are often cited, such as their participation in the civil rights movement and the lowering of the voting age from 21 to 18. The information ranges from national elections to local, expanding on what can be done on a national level and what can occur locally. Along the way, Faulkner includes a diverse mixture of citizens. A range of ethnic groups, minorities, and people of various body sizes and abilities are included, making the book visually welcoming to all readers. An early image depicting a blind woman with both guide dog and cane appears to be the only visual misstep. The backmatter includes a timeline and sources for additional reading.

An empowering choice. (Informational picture book. 7-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-3807-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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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. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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