CIVIL WAR ARTIST

It took four weeks for illustrations of scenes from the US’s Civil War battles to make it from the front lines to readers’ hands; Morrison (Cheetah, 1998, etc.) explains that process in his uniquely handsome book. Morrison introduces the fictional artist, William Forbes, commissioned by the fictional Burton’s Illustrated News to follow the Union Army into battle at Bull Run. Throughout the day’s fighting Forbes makes quick sketches; it is risky business, and he is often in mortal peril. That night he makes a more complete drawing, which is handed to a courier and taken back to the Burton offices. There, engravers set to work translating Forbes’s drawing to a grid of wood blocks (Morrison includes interesting incidentals along the way, giving the process its due). The images are converted to electrotype, whereafter it is finally ready for the operators and pressman. Shortly after that, the newsboys are seen hawking the illustrated weekly, containing Forbes’s image a mere month after the actual event. Morrison successfully renders the complexities of illustrating newspapers 150 years ago, and just as successfully conveys that in abandoning the wood block for the photograph, some of the art was sacrificed for speed. (glossary) (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-395-91426-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1999

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BABY WHALE RESCUE

THE TRUE STORY OF J.J.

Arnold and Hewett (Stories in Stone, 1996, etc.) record the harrowing rescue of a baby gray whale who had become separated from her mother off the coast of California. She was discovered on January 10, 1997, exhausted, hungry, and near death. J.J. was 14 feet long when she was brought to SeaWorld as a young calf. Gaining 900 pounds in the first month, she had to be moved to a new home by crane. Her caretakers started planning on giving J.J. skills so that she could be released and survive on her own in the ocean. Divers put her food on the bottom of the pool, each day in a different location, so she could practice searching. Arnold is relaxed in her telling, allowing the already dramatic events to unfold naturally: “Everyone cheered as J.J. took a big breath, dove deep, and disappeared. The young whale was on her own.” Full-color photos capture the excitement of J.J.’s release, but also the hard work of preparing her for her return to the sea. (Picture book/nonfiction. 5-9)

Pub Date: March 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8167-4961-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1999

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE AND THE GLOBE

PLB 0-06-027821-8 For Aliki (Marianthe’s Story, 1998, etc.), the story of the Globe Theatre is a tale of two men: Shakespeare, who made it famous, and Sam Wanamaker, the driving force behind its modern rebuilding. Decorating margins with verbal and floral garlands, Aliki creates a cascade of landscapes, crowd scenes, diminutive portraits, and sequential views, all done with her trademark warmth and delicacy of line, allowing viewers to glimpse Elizabethan life and theater, historical sites that still stand, and the raising of the new Globe near the ashes of the old. She finishes with a play list, and a generous helping of Shakespearean coinages. Though the level of information doesn’t reach that of Diane Stanley’s Bard of Avon (1992), this makes a serviceable introduction to Shakespeare’s times while creating a link between those times and the present; further tempt young readers for whom the play’s the thing with Marcia Williams’s Tales From Shakespeare (1998). (Picture book/nonfiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: May 31, 1999

ISBN: 0-06-027820-X

Page Count: 48

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1999

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