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An enticingly depicted intro to human history and archaeology, simply expressed but extensive and engaging.

From the author of the adult title Sapiens (2015), an explanation of how physically weak humans came to dominate other animals.

Spoiler alert: It was through human inventiveness and storytelling. Harari’s lively, reader-directed prose and Ruiz’s expressive graphics will help young readers grasp an almost-unimaginably distant past, from the start of toolmaking up to (in this volume) Homo sapiens’ collaborative extinction of mammoths. The text is dramatically punctuated by large and small illustrations. Ingenious use of perspective, imaginative details, and relevance to the text make the artwork integral to this book’s appeal. Most of the illustrations depict cheerful, brown-skinned humans. Bolded sentences in different colors break up text blocks and point to big ideas and questions. Humor is effectively deployed, and concepts like evolution, DNA, and religion are compared to kid-adjacent phenomena (to help kids grapple with the idea of human cooperation, for instance, the author asks readers to imagine all the people, from students to teachers to cafeteria workers to the people who create textbooks, who make a school possible), connected to the next topic, and paced to appeal to middle-grade readers. When an answer isn’t known, Harari admits, “We don’t know.”

An enticingly depicted intro to human history and archaeology, simply expressed but extensive and engaging. (timeline, map, resources, index) (Nonfiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-64346-4

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Bright Matter Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2022

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If Freedman wrote the history textbooks, we would have many more historians. Beginning with an engrossing description of the Boston Tea Party in 1773, he brings the reader the lives of the American colonists and the events leading up to the break with England. The narrative approach to history reads like a good story, yet Freedman tucks in the data that give depth to it. The inclusion of all the people who lived during those times and the roles they played, whether small or large are acknowledged with dignity. The story moves backwards from the Boston Tea Party to the beginning of the European settlement of what they called the New World, and then proceeds chronologically to the signing of the Declaration. “Your Rights and Mine” traces the influence of the document from its inception to the present ending with Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. The full text of the Declaration and a reproduction of the original are included. A chronology of events and an index are helpful to the young researcher. Another interesting feature is “Visiting the Declaration of Independence.” It contains a short review of what happened to the document in the years after it was written, a useful Web site, and a description of how it is displayed and protected today at the National Archives building in Washington, D.C. Illustrations from the period add interest and detail. An excellent addition to the American history collection and an engrossing read. (Nonfiction. 9-13)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-8234-1448-5

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2000

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Logically pointing out that the American cowboy archetype didn’t spring up from nowhere, Sandler, author of Cowboys (1994) and other volumes in the superficial, if luxuriously illustrated, “Library of Congress Book” series, looks back over 400 years of cattle tending in North America. His coverage ranges from the livestock carried on Columbus’s second voyage to today’s herding-by-helicopter operations. Here, too, the generous array of dramatic early prints, paintings, and photos are more likely to capture readers’ imaginations than the generality-ridden text. But among his vague comments about the characters, values, and culture passed by Mexican vaqueros to later arrivals from the Eastern US, Sadler intersperses nods to the gauchos, llaneros, and other South American “cowmen,” plus the paniolos of Hawaii, and the renowned African-American cowboys. He also decries the role film and popular literature have played in suppressing the vaqueros’ place in the history of the American West. He tackles an uncommon topic, and will broaden the historical perspective of many young cowboy fans, but his glance at modern vaqueros seems to stop at this country’s borders. Young readers will get a far more detailed, vivid picture of vaquero life and work from the cowboy classics in his annotated bibliography. (Notes, glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 15, 2001

ISBN: 0-8050-6019-7

Page Count: 116

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2000

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