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A dramatic, superbly illustrated account of a little-known story.

The story of how two men and a fortress paved the way to freedom for an entire population.

It is May 1861, and George Scott—a formerly enslaved man hiding in the Virginia town of Hampton—hears the story of three Black men’s escape to a nearby Union fortress. Remarkably, the three men were not returned. After seeing more Black men enter the fortress, Scott decides to have a look for himself. Upon entering Fortress Monroe, he meets Maj. Gen. Benjamin Franklin Butler, who interviews newcomers and seeks information about the Confederate soldiers. Butler quickly becomes impressed with Scott’s knowledge of the area and the Confederacy and sends Scott on a special mission—to track the soldiers and relay their whereabouts. Scott’s efforts—and Butler’s decision to keep formerly enslaved people as contraband—save the fortress and contribute to the passing of the Confiscation Act of 1861. The succinct text allows the art to take center stage while relaying pertinent information. What is lost to the brief text is put on display in the rich backmatter, which gives a more in-depth look at life for the contraband and the effect of Butler’s decision to turn the fortress into a place of refuge. The watercolor illustrations present eye-catching images; readers can nearly feel the rough texture of the very woods Scott ran through. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A dramatic, superbly illustrated account of a little-known story. (notes on the aftermath, the contrabands, Benjamin Butler's legacy, George Scott, and Fort Monroe; bibliography; the proclamation on the establishment of the Fort Monroe National Monument) (Informational picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Jan. 4, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-63592-582-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Calkins Creek/Astra Books for Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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From the All About America series

Shot through with vague generalities and paired to a mix of equally generic period images and static new art, this overview remorselessly sucks all the juice from its topic.

This survey of the growth of industries in this country from the Colonial period to the post–World War II era is written in the driest of textbook-ese: “Factories needed good transportation so that materials could reach them and so that materials could reach buyers”; “The metal iron is obtained by heating iron ore”; “In 1860, the North said that free men, not slaves, should do the work.” This text is supplemented by a jumble of narrative-overview blocks, boxed side observations and terse captions on each thematic spread. The design is packed with overlapping, misleadingly seamless and rarely differentiated mixes of small, heavily trimmed contemporary prints or (later) photos and drab reconstructions of workshop or factory scenes, along with pictures of significant inventions and technological innovations (which are, in several cases, reduced to background design elements). The single, tiny map has no identifying labels. Other new entries in the All About America series deal similarly with Explorers, Trappers, and Pioneers, A Nation of Immigrants and Stagecoaches and Railroads. Utilitarian, at best—but more likely to dim reader interest than kindle it. (index, timeline, resource lists) (Nonfiction. 8-10)


Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7534-6670-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kingfisher

Review Posted Online: Dec. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2012

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From the Unlikely Friendships for Kids series

The sense of wonder that infuses each simply worded chapter is contagious, and some of the photos are soooo cuuuuute.

The author of an adult book about uncommon animal attachments invites emergent readers to share the warm (Unlikely Friendships, 2011).

This is the first of four spinoffs, all rewritten and enhanced with fetching color photographs of the subject. It pairs a very young rhesus monkey with a dove, one cat with a zoo bear and another that became a “seeing-eye cat” for a blind dog (!), an old performing elephant with a stray dog and a lion in the Kenyan wild with a baby oryx. Refreshingly, the author, a science writer, refrains from offering facile analyses of the relationships’ causes or homiletic commentary. Instead, she explains how each companionship began, what is surprising about it and also how some ended, from natural causes or otherwise. There is a regrettable number of exclamation points, but they are in keeping with the overall enthusiastic tone.

The sense of wonder that infuses each simply worded chapter is contagious, and some of the photos are soooo cuuuuute. (animal and word lists) (Nonfiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: May 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7611-7011-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2012

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