ULTIMATE FIELD TRIP 4

A WEEK IN THE 1800’S

This author took children on previous field trips to Adventures in the Amazonian Rain Forest (1995) and Wading into Marine Biology (1999). Here, she takes a dozen children to spend a week at the Kings Landing Historical Settlement in Prince William, Canada. Leaving Walkman and sneakers behind, the children dress in period costumes, slop the hogs, go to a one-room school and learn about everyday chores and living conditions in the 19th century. The author and photographer document the Ultimate Field Trip with photos of smiling children writing with quill pens, churning butter, setting type in the print shop, and chopping wood. They are costumed in everything from pantaloons and corsets to flowered bonnets. Color photographs also include puzzle boxes, which display an unusual object from the past. The reader is invited to guess the purpose of the object. Some are easy—for example: an iron, skate blades, or an old hat box; others, like the hearse with winter snow runners, will mystify. The answers are given in upside-down captions below each object. Since houses in the restoration span the time from 1830 to 1870, the young viewer may have difficulty sorting out the exact time period, but there are plenty flavors of times past. Readers will enjoy the lively dialogue as the children discuss what they liked and didn't like about “living” like long ago. The author concludes with a brief glossary of unfamiliar terms, suggested further reading, and the Web site of the Kings Landing Historical Settlement. (Nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: May 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-689-83045-9

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2000

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A deftly told story that dramatizes how Danes appointed themselves bodyguards—not only for their king, who was in the habit...

NUMBER THE STARS

The author of the Anastasia books as well as more serious fiction (Rabble Starkey, 1987) offers her first historical fiction—a story about the escape of the Jews from Denmark in 1943.

Five years younger than Lisa in Carol Matas' Lisa's War (1989), Annemarie Johansen has, at 10, known three years of Nazi occupation. Though ever cautious and fearful of the ubiquitous soldiers, she is largely unaware of the extent of the danger around her; the Resistance kept even its participants safer by telling them as little as possible, and Annemarie has never been told that her older sister Lise died in its service. When the Germans plan to round up the Jews, the Johansens take in Annemarie's friend, Ellen Rosen, and pretend she is their daughter; later, they travel to Uncle Hendrik's house on the coast, where the Rosens and other Jews are transported by fishing boat to Sweden. Apart from Lise's offstage death, there is little violence here; like Annemarie, the reader is protected from the full implications of events—but will be caught up in the suspense and menace of several encounters with soldiers and in Annemarie's courageous run as courier on the night of the escape. The book concludes with the Jews' return, after the war, to homes well kept for them by their neighbors.

A deftly told story that dramatizes how Danes appointed themselves bodyguards—not only for their king, who was in the habit of riding alone in Copenhagen, but for their Jews. (Historical fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: April 1, 1989

ISBN: 0547577095

Page Count: 156

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1989

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Falters in its oversimplified portrayal of a complicated region and people.

GROUND ZERO

Parallel storylines take readers through the lives of two young people on Sept. 11 in 2001 and 2019.

In the contemporary timeline, Reshmina is an Afghan girl living in foothills near the Pakistan border that are a battleground between the Taliban and U.S. armed forces. She is keen to improve her English while her twin brother, Pasoon, is inspired by the Taliban and wants to avenge their older sister, killed by an American bomb on her wedding day. Reshmina helps a wounded American soldier, making her village a Taliban target. In 2001, Brandon Chavez is spending the day with his father, who works at the World Trade Center’s Windows on the World restaurant. Brandon is heading to the underground mall when a plane piloted by al-Qaida hits the tower, and his father is among those killed. The two storylines develop in parallel through alternating chapters. Gratz’s deeply moving writing paints vivid images of the loss and fear of those who lived through the trauma of 9/11. However, this nuance doesn’t extend to the Afghan characters; Reshmina and Pasoon feel one-dimensional. Descriptions of the Taliban’s Afghan victims and Reshmina's gentle father notwithstanding, references to all young men eventually joining the Taliban and Pasoon's zeal for their cause counteract this messaging. Explanations for the U.S. military invasion of Afghanistan in the author’s note and in characters’ conversations too simplistically present the U.S. presence.

Falters in its oversimplified portrayal of a complicated region and people. (author’s note) (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-24575-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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