It is no small feat to choose but a few facts about such a well-documented life; the choices made and the method of telling...

THOMAS JEFFERSON GROWS A NATION

Using Thomas Jefferson’s own admissions of passion for both his new country and agriculture, details are given about a few of his activities, inventions, and accomplishments, beginning after the Revolutionary War.

A muted, gouache image of a large-headed Jefferson plowing with the help of a large brown mule spans two early pages, under which is this text: “After planting the seed of freedom writing the Declaration of Independence, Thomas had something new to nurture. And like any farmer imagining the harvest of a newly tilled field, Thomas envisioned a nation of farmers. But one weed threatened Thomas’s vision.” Said weed is Count Buffon, a Frenchman whose disparaging lies about the New World eventually resulted in Jefferson’s arranging for the man to receive a moose via cargo ship. This unusual and amusing tale begins a series of revelations that continue to show Jefferson’s intense desire to boost his nation’s status and to improve its agriculture. The text is dense and contains sophisticated ideas and vocabulary, and numerous quotations appear in the entertaining artwork and the text itself. The seed metaphor is not extended to Jefferson’s known progeny, but the final section, “Thomas Today,” wisely invites readers to ponder Jefferson’s slave ownership.

It is no small feat to choose but a few facts about such a well-documented life; the choices made and the method of telling are both exemplary. (timeline, further information, notes) (Nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62091-628-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: May 12, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Plenty of work for sharp eyes and active intellects in this history-based series opener.

MARY BOWSER AND THE CIVIL WAR SPY RING

From the Spy on History series , Vol. 1

Using a provided packet of helpful tools, readers can search for clues along with a historical spy in the house of Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy.

Fans of ciphers and hidden clues will find both in abundance, beginning on the copyright page and continuing to a final, sealed-off section of explanations and solutions. Fictionalized but spun around actual figures and events, the tale centers on Bowser, a free African-American who worked undercover as a maid in Davis’ house and passed information to a ring of white Richmond spies. Here she looks for the key phrase that will unlock a Vigenère cipher—an alphabetic substitution code—while struggling to hide her intelligence and ability to read. As an extra challenge, she leaves the diary in which she records some of her experiences concealed for readers to discover, using allusive and sometimes-misleading clues that are hidden in Cliff’s monochrome illustrations and in cryptic marginal notations. A Caesar cipher wheel, a sheet of red acetate, and several other items in a front pocket supply an espionage starter kit that readers can use along the way; it is supplemented by quick introductions in the narrative to ciphers and codes, including Morse dashes and dots and the language of flowers.

Plenty of work for sharp eyes and active intellects in this history-based series opener. (answers, historical notes, biographies, bibliography) (Historical fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7611-8739-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

LUCY MAUD MONTGOMERY

A WRITER’S LIFE

Readers who have just discovered Anne Shirley of Green Gables and are wondering where she came from will find at least the beginnings of an answer in this fresh, frank picture-book biography. Montgomery comes across as a generous spirit, with both an independent streak and a strong sense of duty. MacLeod sketches both her public and private lives, pointing out real people, places, or incidents that appeared later in her books. She quotes income figures ($12,000 in 1914: as much as the Canadian Prime Minister) and describes, among other details, her youthful infatuation for one man, her secret engagement to another, and, years later, her long struggle to keep her husband's mental illness a secret. On every spread, montages of contemporary photos, portraits, book covers, quotes, memorabilia, manuscript pages, reviews, and film stills add a visual backdrop to this engaging glimpse of Canada's most famous author. A sketched figure of Maud points to important opinions or pieces of information. Montgomery's other books get a glance too, and there is a complete list at the end, along with lists of sites to visit, both in Canada and on the Web. A terrific format for an appealing subject. (index) (Biography. 9-11)

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 1-55074-487-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2001

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more