GEORGE WASHINGTON CARVER

Bolden follows up MLK: Journey of a King (2007) with this shorter but equally lucid profile of the second-most-well-known African-American. Outfitted with a great array of sharply reproduced contemporary photos and prints (many in color), plus a generous admixture of Carver’s own paintings and botanical illustrations, the narrative takes him from birth (in slavery) to honor-laden old age and death. It focuses particularly on his relentless pursuit of an education, his sense of purpose, his wide range of talents and his ever-more-relevant conviction that all of our basic physical needs can be served by renewable natural resources. Cogently argued, enlivened with unusual details—such as Carver’s ambiguous reference to otherwise unknown “sisters,” or the fact that he was not the inventor of peanut butter—and handsomely packaged, this floats easily atop the ongoing flood of Carver biographies for young readers. Published in conjunction with an exhibition at Chicago’s Field Museum. (source list) (Biography. 10-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-8109-9366-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2007

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ACCIDENTS MAY HAPPEN

FIFTY INVENTIONS DISCOVERED BY MISTAKE

In this entertaining companion volume to Mistakes that Worked (1994), Jones describes more of the often humorous incidents that resulted in inventions, products, and fashions. The telephone and photography are discussed as well as cellophane, Bakelite, Masonite, and dynamite. Another chapter offers speculation as to the origins of yeast, raisins, coffee, and vinegar, without much in the way of documentation, and a part of a chapter is devoted to the meanings of some nursery rhymes (it's never clear what they have to do with inventions). Nevertheless, this is entertaining reading, with whimsical black-and-white drawings, places to write for more information, a brief bibliography, and an index. (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: June 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-385-32162-7

Page Count: 86

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1996

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The car gets shortchanged, but comparing the divergent career paths of its (putative) two riders may give readers food for...

TWO MEN AND A CAR

FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT, AL CAPONE, AND A CADILLAC V-8

A custom-built, bulletproof limo links two historical figures who were pre-eminent in more or less different spheres.

Garland admits that a claim that FDR was driven to Congress to deliver his “Day of Infamy” speech in a car that once belonged to Capone rests on shaky evidence. He nonetheless uses the anecdote as a launchpad for twin portraits of contemporaries who occupy unique niches in this country’s history but had little in common. Both were smart, ambitious New Yorkers and were young when their fathers died, but they definitely “headed in opposite directions.” As he fills his biographical sketches with standard-issue facts and has disappointingly little to say about the car itself (which was commissioned by Capone in 1928 and still survives), this outing seems largely intended to be a vehicle for the dark, heavy illustrations. These are done in muted hues with densely scratched surfaces and angled so that the two men, the period backgrounds against which they are posed, and the car have monumental looks. It’s a reach to bill this, as the author does, a “story about America,” but it does at least offer a study in contrasts featuring two of America’s most renowned citizens. Most of the human figures are white in the art, but some group scenes include a few with darker skin.

The car gets shortchanged, but comparing the divergent career paths of its (putative) two riders may give readers food for thought. (timeline, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 10-12)

Pub Date: March 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-88448-620-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Tilbury House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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