JOHNNY APPLESEED

THE STORY OF A LEGEND

Many are the available picture-book tales of half-legendary wanderer John Chapman, but this one (not really a picture book) merits consideration, both for its appealing folk-art–style illustrations (Moses is an artistic, as well as genetic, descendant of Grandma Moses), and for its thoughtful prose portrait of a man who, Moses suggests, “represents the best qualities of the American character.” The author tucks a few tall-sounding tales into his narrative, but in general sticks closely to the historical record, following Chapman from his early years in Massachusetts, through decades of planting and preaching in Pennsylvania, the Ohio Territory, and, finally, Indiana, where he tended orchards to the last. Ranging from spread-fillers to vignettes, the paintings are nearly all landscapes, with a small, lanky, oddly dressed figure placed amid tapestries of orchards and fields, or paddling along waterways in a birch bark canoe. Just as his apple trees “helped blaze the trail westward,” so, avers the author, should his “kindness and humanity, [his] industrious, independent spirit” make him a “beacon to follow” for today’s young readers. Make room on the shelf for this slim volume, too. (Biography. 9-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-399-23153-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2001

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Not a stand-alone, unlike the opener, but still a worthy tale built around a core of clashing cultures and shared human...

THE RAIDERS

From the Inuk Quartet series , Vol. 2

The second episode in the Danish author's Inuk Quartet sends young Icelander Leiv and his Inuit friends on a new mission of vengeance after Viking raiders plunder his newfound Greenland home.

They have spent an idyllic spring and summer recovering from the trek in Shipwreck (2011); it's been interrupted only by a quick clash with a longship captained by the brutal Thorleifsson brothers. Now, Apuluk and Narua set out to rejoin their nomadic clan with Leiv in tow. That friendly visit turns into a punitive expedition after the Thorleifssons massacre most of a native settlement and loot Leiv's new home. The translated narrative reads smoothly, and high production values result in a handsome, open page design. Its visual appeal is enhanced by Cann's stylized but crisply drawn and richly colored images of arctic wildlife and fur-clad human residents. Though wordy descriptions of seasonal cycles and farm life slow down the first several chapters, the pacing picks up on the way to a violent climax, gory ends for the bad guys, and (pointing to developments in volumes to come) Leiv's decision to explore northward in search of a land route to fabled Vinland.

Not a stand-alone, unlike the opener, but still a worthy tale built around a core of clashing cultures and shared human values.   (Historical fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-84686-744-6

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Barefoot Books

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012

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A BIG CHEESE FOR THE WHITE HOUSE

THE TRUE TALE OF A TREMENDOUS CHEDDAR

The author and illustrator bring to life an incident right out of history in this droll picture book enhanced by lively, color- washed pen-and-ink drawings. In Cheshire, Massachusetts, the home of mouth-watering cheese, the local residents grumble that President Jefferson is serving cheese from Norton, Connecticut, at the White House. “I have an idea,” says Elder John Leland to the assembled town folk, “If each of you will give one day’s milking from each of your many cows, we can put our curds together and create a whopping big cheddar.” Although some people scoff, the farmers bring load after load of milk—from 934 cows—to town and they set about making an enormous cheese. There are problems along the way, but eventually the giant cheese is dragged to a barn to age. At last it is perfect, and Mr. Leland and friends start the long haul to the East Room of White House. In a foreword, the author explains the truth and fiction in the tale, e.g., that the presidential residence wasn’t called the White House until about 1809. A humorous tale with a wide range of appeal and uses in and out of the classroom. (Picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-7894-2573-4

Page Count: 30

Publisher: DK Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1999

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