A vibrant, well-paced exploration.

READ REVIEW

MACHINES IN MOTION

THE AMAZING HISTORY OF TRANSPORTATION

A sprawling history of a dozen modes of transport.

We are surrounded by and typically make daily use of some form of transport. Jackson and Mould train their spotlight on 12 types: trains, ships, cars, balloons, bikes, airplanes, tanks, helicopters, rockets, spacecraft, working vehicles, and submarines. Each mode is introduced with a two-page timeline spread illustrated by a spread-spanning rambling path through an appropriate setting for each vehicle. “Cars” from an ancient pottery wheel to the Ford Model T putter along a winding path; “Bikes” from the 1817 “dandy horse” to the “superbike” that won the 1992 Olympics navigate a hedge maze. Mould’s black-and-white cartoon artwork is dazzling as it works its way from ancient systems of transport to modern types. The timelines pick out stellar moments in the development of each transport, and the pages that follow each timeline go into greater detail of the highlights. And the histories are routinely amazing, with 600-year-old trains, high-speed dreadnoughts, 458-meter-long supertankers, sound-barrier–punching automobiles, Titanic-sized zeppelins, the flying monk of 1,010 C.E. (he crash-landed and broke both legs), Leonardo da Vinci’s tank, a 4-billion-horsepower coal digger, and 2,300-year-old diving bells. Jackson’s text has considerable bounce and enthusiasm while managing to convey lots of tantalizing information and historical movement. There is no index, but the table of contents provides easy entry.

A vibrant, well-paced exploration. (Nonfiction. 5-11)

Pub Date: Jan. 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5476-0337-4

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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A reasonably solid grounding in constitutional rights, their flexibility, lacunae, and hard-won corrections, despite a few...

WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL ABOUT FREEDOM

Shamir offers an investigation of the foundations of freedoms in the United States via its founding documents, as well as movements and individuals who had great impacts on shaping and reshaping those institutions.

The opening pages of this picture book get off to a wobbly start with comments such as “You know that feeling you get…when you see a wide open field that you can run through without worrying about traffic or cars? That’s freedom.” But as the book progresses, Shamir slowly steadies the craft toward that wide-open field of freedom. She notes the many obvious-to-us-now exclusivities that the founding political documents embodied—that the entitled, white, male authors did not extend freedom to enslaved African-Americans, Native Americans, and women—and encourages readers to learn to exercise vigilance and foresight. The gradual inclusion of these left-behind people paints a modestly rosy picture of their circumstances today, and the text seems to give up on explaining how Native Americans continue to be left behind. Still, a vital part of what makes freedom daunting is its constant motion, and that is ably expressed. Numerous boxed tidbits give substance to the bigger political picture. Who were the abolitionists and the suffragists, what were the Montgomery bus boycott and the “Uprising of 20,000”? Faulkner’s artwork conveys settings and emotions quite well, and his drawing of Ruby Bridges is about as darling as it gets. A helpful timeline and bibliography appear as endnotes.

A reasonably solid grounding in constitutional rights, their flexibility, lacunae, and hard-won corrections, despite a few misfires. (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-399-54728-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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A refreshing dive past some of our world’s marine wonders.

THE BIG BOOK OF THE BLUE

Denizens of the deep crowd oversized pages in this populous gallery of ocean life.

The finny and tentacled sea creatures drifting or arrowing through Zommer’s teeming watercolor seascapes are generally recognizable, and they are livened rather than distorted by the artist’s tendency to place human eyes on the same side of many faces, Picasso-like. Headers such as “Ink-teresting” or “In for the krill” likewise add a playful tone to the pithy comments on anatomical features or behavioral quirks that accompany the figures (which include, though rarely, a white human diver). The topical spreads begin with an overview of ocean families (“Some are hairy, some have scales, some have fins and some are boneless and brainless!”), go on to introduce select animals in no particular order from sea horses and dragonets to penguins and pufferfish, then close with cautionary remarks on chemical pollution and floating plastic. The author invites readers as they go to find both answers to such questions as “Why does a crab run sideways?” and also a small sardine hidden in some, but not all, of the pictures. For the latter he provides a visual key at the end, followed by a basic glossary.

A refreshing dive past some of our world’s marine wonders. (index) (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-500-65119-3

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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