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From the Jurassic Classics series

A natural lead-in, or better, lagniappe, to Kathleen Krull’s Lives of the Writers (1994, illustrated by Kathryn Hewitt)

From the Brontësaurus Sisters to Mark Twainceratops (“Born Samuel ‘Three-Horn’ Clemens”), a canon-expanding gallery of great writers that will have every reader, dinophile or not, roaring.

For this first in a projected series, Lacey pairs profiles of six renowned white human authors with as many mostly green but similarly named and (to younger audiences, at least) ancient creators of “dinosaur dramas, prehistoric poems, and timeless fossils of fiction.” For both sets she offers cogent comments on their lives and art—“Having invented over 1,578 grunts, growls, and snorts, Shakespeareasaurus’ talent for wordplay is unequaled”—plus, in small, attached booklets, a hilariously condensed representative work for each. “ROMEO: But soft! There squats my fairest maiden! / See how she slumps her cheek upon her claw?” Following each reptilian profile is a double-page spread that presents its corresponding human. Isik missteps in casting both Catherine and Heathcliff as theropods despite clear indications in the narrative that she’s a brontosaurus and he a velociraptor. Aside from this, her cartoon portraits of popeyed authors and characters in, mostly, antique dress add appropriate notes of anti-gravitas. Whether or not some of the riffs pass over their heads, readers will come away with a fund of names, titles, and general expectations that will serve them well in future encounters with literary works that have, or perhaps will, “echo[ed] across the millennia.”

A natural lead-in, or better, lagniappe, to Kathleen Krull’s Lives of the Writers (1994, illustrated by Kathryn Hewitt) . (Informational novelty. 9-11)

Pub Date: June 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-63322-098-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Walter Foster Jr.

Review Posted Online: April 12, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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An insightful glimpse into a key period in Alcott’s life and women in nursing.

During the Civil War, Louisa May Alcott served as a volunteer nurse, caring for Union soldiers in Washington, D.C., between December 12, 1862, and January 21, 1863. This well-researched biographical vignette explores the brief but pivotal episode in Alcott’s life.

An abolitionist, Alcott longed to fight in the Union Army, but she did her part by serving as a nurse. Alcott met the female nursing requirements: She was 30, plain, strong and unmarried. Krull describes her challenging solo journey from Massachusetts by train and ship and her lonely arrival in Washington at the “overcrowded, damp, dark, airless” hospital. For three weeks she nursed and provided “motherly” support for her “boys” before succumbing to typhoid fever, forcing her to return to Massachusetts. Krull shows how Alcott’s short tenure as a nurse affected her life, inspiring her to publish letters she sent home as Hospital Sketches. This honest account of the war earned rave reviews and taught Alcott to use her own experiences in her writing, leading to Little Women. Peppered with Alcott’s own words, the straightforward text is enhanced by bold, realistic illustrations rendered in digital oils on gessoed canvas. A somber palette reinforces the grim wartime atmosphere, dramatically highlighting Alcott in her red cape and white nurse’s apron.

An insightful glimpse into a key period in Alcott’s life and women in nursing. (notes on women in medicine and the Battle of Fredericksburg, sources, map) (Picture book/biography. 9-11)

Pub Date: March 5, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8027-9668-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Walker

Review Posted Online: Oct. 23, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2012

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From the I Survived series , Vol. 7

Sentimental of plotline but informative and breathlessly paced.

The seventh (chronologically earliest) entry in the series pitches a young former slave into the middle of the Civil War’s pivotal battle.

Having saved a Union soldier named Henry Green by hurling a live skunk at his Confederate captors, young Thomas finds himself and his little sister Birdie adopted by Green’s unit. Three weeks, an ambush and a quick march later, Thomas unexpectedly finds himself in the thick of the fighting—possibly on Missionary Ridge itself, though the author doesn’t provide a specific location. Rather than go into details of the battle, Tarshis offers broad overviews of slavery and the war’s course (adding more about the latter in an afterword that includes the text of the Gettysburg Address). She folds these into quick pictures of military camp life and the violence-laced fog of war. Afterward, Thomas and Birdie are reunited with their older cousin Clem, who had been sold away, and make good on a promise to Green (who doesn’t survive) to settle with his Vermont parents and attend the school taught by his sweetheart.

Sentimental of plotline but informative and breathlessly paced. (Q&A, annotated reading list) (Historical fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-545-45936-5

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2013

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