The Métis visionary never fully comes to life in this book.

CUTHBERT GRANT

An illustrated biography of an early-19th-century Métis leader.

Alas, a fascinating life does not make a fascinating read in this book about Cuthbert Grant (1793-1854), mixed-race son of a Scottish fur-trader father and Métis mother. Author Lindstrom (Turtle Mountain Band of Ojibwe Indians) presents Grant here as a man ahead of his time due to his combined Indigenous and Western education. With a foot in both worlds, he gains influence in powerful business circles and rises to help his people through the creation of a Métis town known as Grantown in the wake of laws that prevented them from hunting the buffalo. Notably, the story positions him as loyal to the fur trade. He is a champion of the Métis and protector of the hunt, though his reasoning goes beyond tradition to commercial concerns. The frequently digressive text mentions both the death of his father and the tragic disappearance of his wife and child with flat language that does little to invest readers. The battles and wars are mentioned in passing, and little attention is given to the competing value systems of the era. If Grant was passionate, conflicted, or angry, readers do not feel it. Illustrator Woods (Long Plain First Nation) gives this dryly factual biography all of its color, combining the occasional photo with vivid, textured paintings. (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-22.8-inch double-page spreads viewed at 22% of actual size.)

The Métis visionary never fully comes to life in this book. (author's note, bibliography) (Biography. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4788-6866-8

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Reycraft Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020

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A significant, unjustly obscure highlight from modern science’s early days.

FINDING THE SPEED OF LIGHT

THE 1676 DISCOVERY THAT DAZZLED THE WORLD

How the observation of a small anomaly in a distant moon’s orbit led to a discovery of, literally, astronomical significance.

Weston spins thin historical records into an account of the career of 17th-century Danish astronomer Ole Romer from schoolboy days through nights spent watching the skies through a self-built telescope at the court of Louis XIV to final years as a renowned scientist (and police chief). Noticing that Jupiter’s moon Io seemed to speed up and slow down on a regular schedule as it passed behind its planet, Romer not only concluded that light did not propagate instantaneously (a radical notion then), but, using the relatively crude clocks and other instruments of the time, came up with a wrong but close estimate of its speed. Along with retracing Romer’s line of reasoning, the author explains how other researchers of the time and later roughed out the distances between major members of the solar system and refined those measurements over time, then closes with nods to Einstein, astronomical distances, and light’s truly mind-bending pace. Evans tucks diagrams and mathematical calculations as well as banter and fanciful details into her lighthearted cartoon illustrations, wedging single and sequential panels of Romer and others at work into views of starscapes and planetary surfaces. Human figures in the art are white and predominantly male.

A significant, unjustly obscure highlight from modern science’s early days. (timeline) (Informational picture book. 8-12)

Pub Date: March 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-88448-545-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tilbury House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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A valuable introduction to a vanished North American people, told with nuance, engagement, and rue.

TUNIIT

MYSTERIOUS FOLK OF THE ARCTIC

Before the Inuit came to the Arctic, there were the Tuniit.

The Qitsualik-Tinsleys offer readers an introduction to this prehistoric people, twining scientific findings with Inuit legend and even Inuktitut grammar to provide a window on the early Arctic. Without going into anthropological specifics, the husband-and-wife team, who include Inuit, Cree, and Mohawk in their combined heritage, introduce the notion that the Tuniit may not have been human before going on to say that they lived in settlements, originated the intricate stone cairns known as inuksuit, and were short, strong, and shy. They introduce snippets of traditional lore that claim supernatural powers for the Tuniit and that build a strong case for the eventual assimilation of the Tuniit by the encroaching Inuit. Anthropological discoveries validate the existence of the Tuniit and their disappearance as a distinct culture and genotype. Bigham contributes moody oil paintings and ink drawings; shifts in typeface seem to indicate corresponding shifts in mode that highlight the persistence of the Tuniit in Inuit legend, though this is not consistent. The authors clearly wrestle with the understanding that Inuit ancestors displaced an earlier indigenous people, introducing real poignancy to their exhortation that their readers respect the Tuniit by remembering them: "We remember a fate that no culture should have to endure."

A valuable introduction to a vanished North American people, told with nuance, engagement, and rue. (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-927095-76-8

Page Count: 60

Publisher: Inhabit Media

Review Posted Online: April 1, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2015

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