A visually exciting introduction to a famous spy case and a name synonymous with “traitor.” (aftermath, timelines, places to...

REVOLUTIONARY ROGUES

JOHN ANDRÉ AND BENEDICT ARNOLD

During the Revolutionary War, Maj. John André and Maj. Gen. Benedict Arnold each sought glory, but instead both found ruin.

André was in charge of British secret intelligence. Arnold was the American hero of the Battle of Saratoga. But Arnold felt slighted. Maimed in the battle, capable of no further battlefield heroics, and denied official reward and recognition from Congress, he sought fame and fortune in an unusual way: plotting with André, he would hand over the American stronghold of West Point and its 3,000 soldiers to the British. This would hasten the end of the war, and Americans would be grateful. However, this was treason. André was caught and hanged, and Arnold lived in exile for the rest of his life. It’s a complicated story, and Castrovilla’s choice of telling it in alternating third-person points of view diffuses dramatic tension and pacing. Even the concluding gallows scene is kept at a distance, in both words and image. The illustrations, however, are stellar, employing O’Brien’s signature squiggly ink lines and watercolor for an effect akin to 18th-century hand-colored woodcuts. The effective alternation of framed illustrations and full-bleed spreads adds necessary drama to the tale. Overall, a volume that young history buffs will find absorbing.

A visually exciting introduction to a famous spy case and a name synonymous with “traitor.” (aftermath, timelines, places to visit, resources) (Informational picture book. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62979-341-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: June 19, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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IF YOU LIVED DURING THE PLIMOTH THANKSGIVING

A measured corrective to pervasive myths about what is often referred to as the “first Thanksgiving.”

Contextualizing them within a Native perspective, Newell (Passamaquoddy) touches on the all-too-familiar elements of the U.S. holiday of Thanksgiving and its origins and the history of English colonization in the territory now known as New England. In addition to the voyage and landfall of the Mayflower, readers learn about the Doctrine of Discovery that arrogated the lands of non-Christian peoples to European settlers; earlier encounters between the Indigenous peoples of the region and Europeans; and the Great Dying of 1616-1619, which emptied the village of Patuxet by 1620. Short, two- to six-page chapters alternate between the story of the English settlers and exploring the complex political makeup of the region and the culture, agriculture, and technology of the Wampanoag—all before covering the evolution of the holiday. Refreshingly, the lens Newell offers is a Native one, describing how the Wampanoag and other Native peoples received the English rather than the other way around. Key words ranging from estuary to discover are printed in boldface in the narrative and defined in a closing glossary. Nelson (a member of the Leech Lake Band of Minnesota Chippewa) contributes soft line-and-color illustrations of the proceedings. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Essential. (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-72637-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Scholastic Nonfiction

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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Like oil itself, this is a book that needs to be handled with special care.

OIL

In 1977, the oil carrier Exxon Valdez spilled 11 million gallons of oil into a formerly pristine Alaskan ocean inlet, killing millions of birds, animals, and fish. Despite a cleanup, crude oil is still there.

The Winters foretold the destructive powers of the atomic bomb allusively in The Secret Project (2017), leaving the actuality to the backmatter. They make no such accommodations to young audiences in this disturbing book. From the dark front cover, on which oily blobs conceal a seabird, to the rescuer’s sad face on the back, the mother-son team emphasizes the disaster. A relatively easy-to-read and poetically heightened text introduces the situation. Oil is pumped from the Earth “all day long, all night long, / day after day, year after year” in “what had been unspoiled land, home to Native people // and thousands of caribou.” The scale of extraction is huge: There’s “a giant pipeline” leading to “enormous ships.” Then, crash. Rivers of oil gush out over three full-bleed wordless pages. Subsequent scenes show rocks, seabirds, and sea otters covered with oil. Finally, 30 years later, animals have returned to a cheerful scene. “But if you lift a rock… // oil / seeps / up.” For an adult reader, this is heartbreaking. How much more difficult might this be for an animal-loving child?

Like oil itself, this is a book that needs to be handled with special care. (author’s note, further reading) (Informational picture book. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 31, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3077-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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