An inspiring tale as well as a tantalizing invitation to visit one of our country’s newest “must see” attractions.

HOW TO BUILD A MUSEUM

SMITHSONIAN'S NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY AND CULTURE

An account of how the “hundred-year hope” for a National Museum of African American History and Culture came to fruition, with glimpses of the new institution’s treasures.

Bolden looks past most of the friction and politics to focus on the heroically sustained effort to make this museum a reality—a campaign that began during a huge reunion of Civil War veterans in 1915 and at last reached the groundbreaking stage at a site near the Washington Monument in 2012 (this volume is scheduled to coincide with the building’s planned opening in September 2016). Along with discussing the ins and outs of designing, creating, and staffing a new museum of this magnitude, the author describes how the curators went about soliciting and gathering a collection of national stature. That collection ranges from an entire segregated railway car from the 1920s and a shawl worn by Harriet Tubman to “documents, dolls, diaries, books, balls, bells, benches, medals, medallions, and more.” In a second section organized along historical and topical lines, big, clear photos of some of these rarities, with explanatory captions, offer insight not only into the diversity of the museum’s holdings, but also into its broader mission to “drive home the point that black history is everybody’s history.”

An inspiring tale as well as a tantalizing invitation to visit one of our country’s newest “must see” attractions. (source notes) (Nonfiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-451-47637-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2016

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Chortleworthy at first glance, disturbingly superficial at second and subsequent ones.

THE PRESIDENTIAL MASTERS OF PREHISTORY

From the Jurassic Classics series

Six presidents of our Holocene epoch pair up with prehistoric predecessors, from George Washingdonyx to Franklin D. Rex.

Following the format of The Prehistoric Masters of Literature (2016), Lacey matches a dino-bio that comes with an attached booklet containing further details to a profile of a historical chief executive from the (considerably) more recent past. Though millions of years separate the administrations of each couple, there are remarkable parallels: Thomas Jeffersaurus drafted a “Declaration of In-dino-pendence,” and Franklin D. Rex crafted a New Deal for those afflicted by the Great Ice Age. It’s a clever premise—but the author’s efforts to accentuate the positive for each president lead her into some troublesome territory. She trumpets Andrew Jaxceratops/Jackson’s “passion for democracy” while staying silent about his treatment of Native Americans, for instance, and makes no mention of slavery either until noting that (in an infelicitous choice of words) Abraham Lincolnator “freed millions of creatures.” The Winning of the West may not be the best choice to represent Theodore Rexevelt’s publications either, considering that work’s rabid cultural imperialism. For all that they’re uniformly green of skin, the dignitaries in Isik’s cartoon portraits generally resemble their modern white (mostly) counterparts, except in a gallery of additional proto-presidents where “Obamasaurus” has thick lips (wrong in more ways than one).

Chortleworthy at first glance, disturbingly superficial at second and subsequent ones. (list of presidents) (Informational novelty. 10-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-63322-109-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Walter Foster Jr.

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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“I’ll see you on the other side,” Hades leers—“sooner or later.” At least the terra won’t be completely incognita.

HADES SPEAKS!

A GUIDE TO THE UNDERWORLD BY THE GREEK GOD OF THE DEAD

From the Secrets of the Ancient Gods series

A tour of the ancient Greek (and Roman) underworld, squired by Hades and his lovely wife, Persephone.

Enthusiastically embracing his assigned role, Hades invites young visitors to pick an entrance to his shadowy realm (“There’s one right outside your bedroom.” Bwa ha ha) and to mind the monsters. The tour proceeds past Acheron and other rivers to the “fire pits of Tartaros” and the Fields of Asphodel and Elysium. Besides complaining continually that he gets no respect and fulminating about “brute-brat-boy” Herakles, the chatty chaperon delivers background on the origins of his mythological clan. He also introduces his fiendish staff and discourses on a range of need-to-know topics from Roman curse tablets to the mysterious significance of beans in ancient writings. Midway through, Persephone commandeers the narrative to tell some favorite myths—notably the one about how Theseus left part of his butt attached to the Hadean Chair of Forgetfulness. Hades ultimately leaves readers to find their own ways back to the land of the living with a generous bibliography as well as a glossary and a guide to the gods as mementos of their junket. Larson’s mannered, Aubrey Beardsley–style pen-and-ink scenes of angular figures shrouded in long cloaks or gowns add more chills than chuckles, but the map is helpful.

“I’ll see you on the other side,” Hades leers—“sooner or later.” At least the terra won’t be completely incognita. (index) (Mythology. 10-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-62091-598-1

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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