A warm human (and horse) interest story that feels fresh off a newsreel

SERGEANT RECKLESS

THE TRUE STORY OF THE LITTLE HORSE WHO BECAME A HERO

U.S. Marines reluctantly adopt a small mare to carry ammunition in battle during the Korean War, believing she will be too weak for the job. They soon realize their mistake!

Digitally colored pencil drawings capture the spirited mare and her military world in a khaki-tinted palette, while the straightforward, informative text is presented framed by various relevant documents and objects, lending the art a collagelike feel. Nicknamed Reckless, the mare has a passion for food—she loves chocolate and Coke, regularly joins the men for scrambled eggs, and even nibbles on poker chips. But it’s Reckless’ hard work that truly makes her a beloved member of the team, and after learning to cope with the noise of battle, she carries ammunition to the men through shellfire and flares, saving lives and helping win a battle that changes the course of the war. The only nonhuman to be awarded military rank—she’s promoted to sergeant and receives two Purple Hearts—Reckless is eventually brought to the States through the efforts of the soldiers who loved her. This intriguing historical tale of an underdog highlights the connection between animals and humans, provides a view of the dangers of the battlefield, and has a subtle feminist slant.

A warm human (and horse) interest story that feels fresh off a newsreel . (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-229259-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 14, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere.

1001 BEES

This book is buzzing with trivia.

Follow a swarm of bees as they leave a beekeeper’s apiary in search of a new home. As the scout bees traverse the fields, readers are provided with a potpourri of facts and statements about bees. The information is scattered—much like the scout bees—and as a result, both the nominal plot and informational content are tissue-thin. There are some interesting facts throughout the book, but many pieces of trivia are too, well trivial, to prove useful. For example, as the bees travel, readers learn that “onion flowers are round and fluffy” and “fennel is a plant that is used in cooking.” Other facts are oversimplified and as a result are not accurate. For example, monofloral honey is defined as “made by bees who visit just one kind of flower” with no acknowledgment of the fact that bees may range widely, and swarm activity is described as a springtime event, when it can also occur in summer and early fall. The information in the book, such as species identification and measurement units, is directed toward British readers. The flat, thin-lined artwork does little to enhance the story, but an “I spy” game challenging readers to find a specific bee throughout is amusing.

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere. (Informational picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-500-65265-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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A reasonably solid grounding in constitutional rights, their flexibility, lacunae, and hard-won corrections, despite a few...

WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL ABOUT FREEDOM

Shamir offers an investigation of the foundations of freedoms in the United States via its founding documents, as well as movements and individuals who had great impacts on shaping and reshaping those institutions.

The opening pages of this picture book get off to a wobbly start with comments such as “You know that feeling you get…when you see a wide open field that you can run through without worrying about traffic or cars? That’s freedom.” But as the book progresses, Shamir slowly steadies the craft toward that wide-open field of freedom. She notes the many obvious-to-us-now exclusivities that the founding political documents embodied—that the entitled, white, male authors did not extend freedom to enslaved African-Americans, Native Americans, and women—and encourages readers to learn to exercise vigilance and foresight. The gradual inclusion of these left-behind people paints a modestly rosy picture of their circumstances today, and the text seems to give up on explaining how Native Americans continue to be left behind. Still, a vital part of what makes freedom daunting is its constant motion, and that is ably expressed. Numerous boxed tidbits give substance to the bigger political picture. Who were the abolitionists and the suffragists, what were the Montgomery bus boycott and the “Uprising of 20,000”? Faulkner’s artwork conveys settings and emotions quite well, and his drawing of Ruby Bridges is about as darling as it gets. A helpful timeline and bibliography appear as endnotes.

A reasonably solid grounding in constitutional rights, their flexibility, lacunae, and hard-won corrections, despite a few misfires. (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-399-54728-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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