An exciting tale, rousingly told.

RED CLOUD'S WAR

BRAVE EAGLE'S ACCOUNT OF THE FETTERMAN FIGHT

Fighting to preserve Oglala Sioux territory northwest of Fort Laramie, in modern-day Wyoming, war chief Red Cloud routs a band of 80 soldiers in 1866.

Young Brave Eagle describes the events leading up to the Battle of the Hundred in the Hands and the fierce encounter, sometimes called the Fetterman Fight for the glory-seeking captain who had led his soldiers into an ambush. There were no U.S. Army survivors. First published in 1972, this stirring story has been slightly reworked and reissued with additional material, including a forward from Native American storyteller Robert Lewis and an extensive list of references. In an opening author’s note, Goble explains that his imagined warrior’s narrative “attempts to capture the spirit of the published Indian accounts.” Maps introduce this history, and Goble’s dramatic color illustrations, digitized from his original ledger-style artwork, bring it alive. Groups of flat figures stand out on shiny white pages; they’re under, adjacent to, or nearly overwhelming the text. There’s glorious detail in the costumes, weapons, and even decorations for the horses. This is part of a series of reissues of early titles by this award-winning author/illustrator, welcome both for their good stories and for the care he’s taken to provide the sources and references that weren’t customary in children’s literature 40 years ago.

An exciting tale, rousingly told. (Nonfiction. 9-13)

Pub Date: June 7, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-937786-38-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Wisdom Tales

Review Posted Online: April 1, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2015

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Falters in its oversimplified portrayal of a complicated region and people.

GROUND ZERO

Parallel storylines take readers through the lives of two young people on Sept. 11 in 2001 and 2019.

In the contemporary timeline, Reshmina is an Afghan girl living in foothills near the Pakistan border that are a battleground between the Taliban and U.S. armed forces. She is keen to improve her English while her twin brother, Pasoon, is inspired by the Taliban and wants to avenge their older sister, killed by an American bomb on her wedding day. Reshmina helps a wounded American soldier, making her village a Taliban target. In 2001, Brandon Chavez is spending the day with his father, who works at the World Trade Center’s Windows on the World restaurant. Brandon is heading to the underground mall when a plane piloted by al-Qaida hits the tower, and his father is among those killed. The two storylines develop in parallel through alternating chapters. Gratz’s deeply moving writing paints vivid images of the loss and fear of those who lived through the trauma of 9/11. However, this nuance doesn’t extend to the Afghan characters; Reshmina and Pasoon feel one-dimensional. Descriptions of the Taliban’s Afghan victims and Reshmina's gentle father notwithstanding, references to all young men eventually joining the Taliban and Pasoon's zeal for their cause counteract this messaging. Explanations for the U.S. military invasion of Afghanistan in the author’s note and in characters’ conversations too simplistically present the U.S. presence.

Falters in its oversimplified portrayal of a complicated region and people. (author’s note) (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-24575-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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It’s great to see these kids “so enthusiastic about committing high treason.” (historical note) (Historical fiction. 10-12)

THE CONSPIRACY

From the Plot to Kill Hitler series , Vol. 1

Near the end of World War II, two kids join their parents in a plot to kill Adolf Hitler.

Max, 12, lives with his parents and his older sister in a Berlin that’s under constant air bombardment. During one such raid, a mortally wounded man stumbles into the white German family’s home and gasps out his last wish: “The Führer must die.” With this nighttime visitation, Max and Gerta discover their parents have been part of a resistance cell, and the siblings want in. They meet a colorful band of upper-class types who seem almost too whimsical to be serious. Despite her charming levity, Prussian aristocrat and cell leader Frau Becker is grimly aware of the stakes. She enlists Max and Gerta as couriers who sneak forged identification papers to Jews in hiding. Max and Gerta are merely (and realistically) cogs in the adults’ plans, but there’s plenty of room for their own heroism. They escape capture, rescue each other when they’re caught out during an air raid, and willingly put themselves repeatedly at risk to catch a spy. The fictional plotters—based on a mix of several real anti-Hitler resistance cells—are portrayed with a genuine humor, giving them the space to feel alive even in such a slim volume.

It’s great to see these kids “so enthusiastic about committing high treason.” (historical note) (Historical fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-35902-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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