Showing uncommon foresight, Thor bids adieu with a “See ya next time, kid!” Return trips are definitely in the offing.

THOR SPEAKS!

A GUIDE TO THE VIKING REALMS BY THE NORDIC GOD OF THUNDER

From the Secrets of the Ancient Gods series

Mortals, do you dare follow the god of “strength and weather and mighty muscles” on a tour through Norse mythology?

Warning that “if you don’t like blood, you might want to close this book and read stories about pixies and fairies instead” (as if), the hammer-wielding guide begins with an introduction to the Vikings and their way of, literally, cutting out the middleman to get to the plunder. He then goes on to describe the creation of the giants from the “sweaty armpit” of Ymir and subsequent battles with “Odin’s team of good-guy gods.” He then conducts a tour up Yggdrasill with stopovers at Niflheim, Midgard, and Asgard, then concludes with a jolly preview of the slaughter of Ragnarök, the “end of times” (but not really). The itinerary also includes a quick visit to Valhalla—“an endless zombie slumber party” for warriors who die in battle—among other stops. Prefaced by a proper caution that Norse myths and legends are, like all such, subject to regional and other variations, the genial guide’s patter includes references to other prominent figures and tales. Larson’s dark, operatic tableaux of melodramatically posed figures clad in outsized headgear and geometrically patterned cloaks add a comically Wagnerian tone.

Showing uncommon foresight, Thor bids adieu with a “See ya next time, kid!” Return trips are definitely in the offing. (list of gods and monsters, glossary, sources, map, index) (Mythology. 10-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62091-599-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2015

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Chatty, formulaic, superficial—and dispensable, as the content is neither reliable nor systematic. .

STATES AND CAPITALS

UNITED WE STAND!

From the Basher History series

Sprouting bodies and grins, the states introduce themselves alphabetically in this Basher History gallery.

Following the series’ cast-in-stone design, each entry poses in a cartoon portrait with small emblems representing prominent physical features, industry, number of native U.S. presidents and other select distinctions. On opposite pages, a hearty self-description dominates: “Aloha! Come and hang ten with me, dude. I’m a bunch of chilled-out islands in the Pacific, but I have a fiery heart.” This is sandwiched between bulleted lists of superficial facts, from state bird, flower and nickname to (for Arkansas) “Known for diverse landscape, extreme weather, and Walmart.” U.S. territories bring up the rear, followed by a table of official state mottos and, glued to the rear cover, a foldout map. Along with out-and-out errors (a mistranslation of “e pluribus unum”) and unqualified claims (Boston built the first subway), Green offers confusing or opaque views on the origins of “Hawkeye,” “Sooners,” some state names and which of two “Mississippi Deltas” was the birthplace of the blues. Furthermore, a reference to “sacred hunting grounds” in West Virginia and Kentucky’s claim that “It wasn’t until pioneer Daniel Boone breached the Cumberland Gap…that my verdant pastures were colonized” are, at best, ingenuous.

Chatty, formulaic, superficial—and dispensable, as the content is neither reliable nor systematic. . (index, glossary) (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: July 22, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7534-7138-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Kingfisher

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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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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