An engaging hero’s journey but one that’s light on meaningful details and context.

TOGO & BALTO

THE DOGS WHO SAVED A TOWN

From the Animalographies series

The true story of two dogs who were part of a mission to bring lifesaving serum to a remote Alaskan town.

In January 1925, the town of Nome, Alaska, was hit by diphtheria, a deadly disease. The nearest source of serum was 674 miles away and only accessible by dog sled. Thanks to hardworking dog teams, a trip that would normally take 25 days only took six. Togo, the 12-year-old Siberian husky and pack leader who ran the longest leg of the journey, tells his story as well as that of 6-year-old sled dog Balto, who famously led the final sled team into Nome. In providing a brief history of sled dogs, Parachini notes that they were originally used to draw sleds that transported mail and travelers and that conveyed miners to Alaska’s gold fields. She also mentions that “for many years Alaska Natives such as the Athabascans, Inuit, and Yuit used dogs as pack animals to carry heavy loads,” but aside from this, Indigenous people are erased from the narrative. The digitally rendered illustrations depict a predominantly White community and center Togo’s owner, Leonhard Seppala, a White Norwegian immigrant. Brief backmatter includes dog sled commands and a note detailing the qualities that make huskies good sled dogs. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

An engaging hero’s journey but one that’s light on meaningful details and context. (Informational picture book. 4-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-8075-0382-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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A larger-than-life subject is neatly captured in text and images.

THURGOOD

The life journey of the first African American to serve on the United States Supreme Court and the incidents that formed him.

Thurgood Marshall grew up in segregated Baltimore, Maryland, with a family that encouraged him to stand for justice. Despite attending poor schools, he found a way to succeed. His father instilled in him a love of the law and encouraged him to argue like a lawyer during dinner conversations. His success in college meant he could go to law school, but the University of Maryland did not accept African American students. Instead, Marshall went to historically black Howard University, where he was mentored by civil rights lawyer Charles Houston. Marshall’s first major legal case was against the law school that denied him a place, and his success brought him to the attention of the NAACP and ultimately led to his work on the groundbreaking Brown v. Board of Education, which itself led to his appointment to the Supreme Court. This lively narrative serves as an introduction to the life of one of the country’s important civil rights figures. Important facts in Marshall’s life are effectively highlighted in an almost staccato fashion. The bold watercolor-and-collage illustrations, beginning with an enticing cover, capture and enhance the strong tone set by the words.

A larger-than-life subject is neatly captured in text and images. (author’s note, photos) (Picture book/biography. 5-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6533-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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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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