A pleasingly lucid look at a complicated relationship, it should prove revelatory to an audience unaccustomed to such nuance.

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WORST OF FRIENDS

THOMAS JEFFERSON, JOHN ADAMS, AND THE TRUE STORY OF AN AMERICAN FEUD

Though John Adams and Thomas Jefferson “...were as different as pickles and ice cream,” they were able to work together to fight for America’s independence—for a while.

In the late 1770s, they developed conflicting ideas about government and aligned with opposing political parties. When John Adams was elected as the second U.S. president, Jefferson was elected vice president. This exacerbated their rocky relationship, and when Jefferson was ultimately elected president over Adams, their friendship ended. Over a decade would pass before they spoke again. The team that created George Did It (2005) now brings to light both the trials and tribulations of these two notable leaders and the turbulence of early American politics. Energetic watercolor-and-pencil drawings accurately represent the late 18th century, showing the dress, style and architecture of the period. Feisty narration paired with amusing illustrations makes light of sticky situations, as when Jefferson physically restrains an angry Adams from assaulting King George and Adams moves himself out of the White House in the dead of night. Although quotations are not specifically sourced, the selected bibliography reveals a wealth of research, including several primary sources.

A pleasingly lucid look at a complicated relationship, it should prove revelatory to an audience unaccustomed to such nuance. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-525-47903-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2011

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It’s not the most dramatic version, but it’s a visually effective and serviceable addition to the rapidly growing shelf of...

THE FIRST MEN WHO WENT TO THE MOON

A 50th-anniversary commemoration of the epochal Apollo 11 mission.

Modeling her account on “The House That Jack Built” (an unspoken, appropriate nod to President John F. Kennedy’s foundational role in the enterprise), Greene takes Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins from liftoff to post-splashdown ticker-tape parade. Side notes on some spreads and two pages of further facts with photographs at the end, all in smaller type, fill in select details about the mission and its historical context. The rhymed lines are fully cumulated only once, so there is some repetition but never enough to grow monotonous: “This is the Moon, a mysterious place, / a desolate land in the darkness of space, / far from Earth with oceans blue.” Also, the presentation of the text in just three or fewer lines per spread stretches out the narrative and gives Brundage latitude for both formal and informal group portraits of Apollo 11’s all-white crew, multiple glimpses of our planet and the moon at various heights, and, near the end, atmospheric (so to speak) views of the abandoned lander and boot prints in the lunar dust.

It’s not the most dramatic version, but it’s a visually effective and serviceable addition to the rapidly growing shelf of tributes to our space program’s high-water mark. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-58536-412-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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A killer thriller.

THREE HOURS IN PARIS

Black takes time out from chronicling the neighborhood-themed exploits of half-French detective Aimée Leduc to introduce a heroine as American as apple pie.

Kate Rees never expected to see Paris again, especially not under these circumstances. Born and bred in rural Oregon, she earned a scholarship to the Sorbonne, where she met Dafydd, a handsome Welshman who stole her heart. The start of World War II finds the couple stationed in the Orkney Islands, where Kate impresses Alfred Stepney of the War Department with the rifle skills she developed helping her dad and five brothers protect the family’s cattle. After unimaginable tragedy strikes, Stepney recruits Kate for a mission that will allow her to channel her newly ignited rage against the Germans who’ve just invaded France. She’s parachuted into the countryside, where her fluent French should help her blend in. Landing in a field, she hops a milk train to Paris, where she plans to shoot Adolf Hitler as he stands on the steps of Sacre-Coeur. Instead, she kills his admiral and has to flee through the streets of Paris, struggling to hook up with the rescuers who are supposed to extract her. Meanwhile, Gunter Hoffman, a career policeman in a wartime assignment with the Reichssicherheitsdienst security forces, is charged with finding the assassin who dared attempt to kill the Führer. It’s hard to see how it can end well for both the cop and the cowgirl. The heroine’s flight is too episodic to capitalize on Black’s skill at character development, but she’s great at raising readers’ blood pressure.

A killer thriller.

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 360

Publisher: Soho Crime

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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Solid, if not revolutionary.

ALEXANDER HAMILTON

A PLAN FOR AMERICA

Albee and Ko take their shot at an early-reader biography about Alexander Hamilton.

Emergent readers (and their caregivers) familiar with Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hit musical Hamilton will be rewarded with what amounts to an illustrated highlights reel of the founding father’s life. Albee opens in medias res by describing Hamilton as “a soldier, a lawyer, and a financial wizard,” before the spare text quickly brings readers to Hamilton’s Caribbean childhood, noting his father’s abandonment, his mother’s death, and his determined rise from poverty. He’s presented as a trusted adviser to George Washington and rival to Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr, with Ko’s accompanying digital art depicting him with a smiling man on horseback (Washington), while on the facing page, the two other men scowl. A later spread notes major differences between Jefferson and Hamilton, including acknowledgment that Jefferson enslaved people while “Hamilton was against slavery,” but Washington’s slave-owner status isn’t named, nor is the American Revolution’s impact on Indigenous peoples. Personal milestones, such as marriage to Eliza Schuyler, are noted alongside references to his involvement in the war and his work with the nascent American government. While his death occurs on the page, strategies to keep the text within the comprehension of its audience risk undermining other historical content by omitting such terms as “revolution” and the Federalist Papers (though they do appear in backmatter).

Solid, if not revolutionary. (Early reader/biography. 6-8)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-243291-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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