Carefully crafted poetry and artwork ideally suited to history buffs.

RUTHERFORD B., WHO WAS HE?

POEMS ABOUT OUR PRESIDENTS

Witty poetry and equally clever caricatures of all 43 presidents create a book that can add spice to serious studies, but it’s not for beginners.

If the information in the appendix were interspersed with the poems, the less-intelligible ones—such as the four-part conversation among Taylor, Fillmore, Pierce and Buchanan—would begin to make sense. Even so, the backmatter is too spare. For example, only readers who already know such tidbits as the quotation “We have nothing to fear but fear itself” and the slogan “We like Ike” will be able to appreciate lines dedicated to those references. Singer shows mastery of poetic forms, from appropriately “tricky” word wizardry for Nixon to eminently pleasing couplets: “ ‘We will return,’ said Cleveland’s spouse / the day they left their stately house. / She was right—the chief executive / had four more years (though nonconsecutive).” Some of these work well for reading aloud as a team; the Reagan page offers an excellent opportunity for a choral trio to demonstrate differing opinions about a president. Colorful artwork recalls political cartoons of yore, grounding poems in their respective eras, and highlights presidential quotations.

Carefully crafted poetry and artwork ideally suited to history buffs. (author’s note, presidential biographies, sources) (Informational picture book/poetry. 9-13)

Pub Date: Dec. 17, 2013

ISBN: 978-142317100-3

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2013

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A deftly told story that dramatizes how Danes appointed themselves bodyguards—not only for their king, who was in the habit...

NUMBER THE STARS

The author of the Anastasia books as well as more serious fiction (Rabble Starkey, 1987) offers her first historical fiction—a story about the escape of the Jews from Denmark in 1943.

Five years younger than Lisa in Carol Matas' Lisa's War (1989), Annemarie Johansen has, at 10, known three years of Nazi occupation. Though ever cautious and fearful of the ubiquitous soldiers, she is largely unaware of the extent of the danger around her; the Resistance kept even its participants safer by telling them as little as possible, and Annemarie has never been told that her older sister Lise died in its service. When the Germans plan to round up the Jews, the Johansens take in Annemarie's friend, Ellen Rosen, and pretend she is their daughter; later, they travel to Uncle Hendrik's house on the coast, where the Rosens and other Jews are transported by fishing boat to Sweden. Apart from Lise's offstage death, there is little violence here; like Annemarie, the reader is protected from the full implications of events—but will be caught up in the suspense and menace of several encounters with soldiers and in Annemarie's courageous run as courier on the night of the escape. The book concludes with the Jews' return, after the war, to homes well kept for them by their neighbors.

A deftly told story that dramatizes how Danes appointed themselves bodyguards—not only for their king, who was in the habit of riding alone in Copenhagen, but for their Jews. (Historical fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: April 1, 1989

ISBN: 0547577095

Page Count: 156

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1989

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Though occasionally heavy-handed, this debut offers a vivid glimpse of the 1960s South through the eyes of a spirited girl...

GLORY BE

The closing of her favorite swimming pool opens 11-year-old Gloriana Hemphill’s eyes to the ugliness of racism in a small Mississippi town in 1964.

Glory can’t believe it… the Hanging Moss Community Pool is closing right before her July Fourth birthday. Not only that, she finds out the closure’s not for the claimed repairs needed, but so Negroes can’t swim there. Tensions have been building since “Freedom Workers” from the North started shaking up status quo, and Glory finds herself embroiled in it when her new, white friend from Ohio boldly drinks from the “Colored Only” fountain. The Hemphills’ African-American maid, Emma, a mother figure to Glory and her sister Jesslyn, tells her, “Don’t be worrying about what you can’t fix, Glory honey.” But Glory does, becoming an activist herself when she writes an indignant letter to the newspaper likening “hateful prejudice” to “dog doo” that makes her preacher papa proud. When she’s not saving the world, reading Nancy Drew or eating Dreamsicles, Glory shares the heartache of being the kid sister of a preoccupied teenager, friendship gone awry and the terrible cost of blabbing people’s secrets… mostly in a humorously sassy first-person voice.

Though occasionally heavy-handed, this debut offers a vivid glimpse of the 1960s South through the eyes of a spirited girl who takes a stand. (Historical fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-33180-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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