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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A powerfully candid and soulful account of an immigrant experience.

IN THE BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY

A Taiwanese family tries their luck in America.

In this verse novel, it’s 1980, and nearly 11-year-old Ai Shi and her mother prepare to leave Taipei to join her father in California, where he is pursuing a business opportunity with a friend. The extended family send them off, telling Ai Shi she’s so lucky to go to the “beautiful country”—the literal translation of the Chinese name for the U.S. Once they are reunited with Ba, he reveals that they have instead poured their savings into a restaurant in the remote Los Angeles County town of Duarte. Ma and Ba need to learn to cook American food, but at least, despite a betrayal by Ba’s friend, they have their own business. However, the American dream loses its shine as language barriers, isolation, financial stress, and racism take their toll. Ai Shi internalizes her parents’ disappointment in their new country by staying silent about bullying at school and her own unmet needs. Her letters home to her favorite cousin, Mei, maintain that all is well. After a year of enduring unrelenting challenges, including vandalism by local teens, the family reaches its breaking point. Hope belatedly arrives in the form of community allies and a change of luck. Kuo deftly touches on complex issues, such as the human cost of the history between China and Taiwan as well as the socio-economic prejudices and identity issues within Asian American communities.

A powerfully candid and soulful account of an immigrant experience. (Verse historical fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: June 28, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-311898-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Quill Tree Books/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

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A beautiful, evocative sophomore effort from Newbery honoree Wolk (Wolf Hollow, 2016).

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BEYOND THE BRIGHT SEA

This book will make people want to run away to the Elizabeth Islands.

It’s the 1920s. Crow and her adoptive father, Osh, live in a tiny house on a tiny island off Cape Cod, but her descriptions make it seem strange and mysterious. The cottage is “built from bits of lost ships,” and it’s full of found treasures: “a pair of sun-white whale ribs arched over our doorway, a tarnished ship’s bell hanging from their pinnacle.” Every chapter in the book has a new mystery to be solved: why was Crow sent away in an old boat when she was a baby? Why is a fire burning on an abandoned island? Did Capt. Kidd really hide treasure nearby? But some readers will love Wolk’s use of language even more than the puzzles. Crow says her skin is “the same color Osh [makes] by mixing purple and yellow, blue and orange, red and green.” (The race of the characters isn’t always identified, but Osh says, “I came a long, long way to be here,” and his native language and accent make him sound “different from everyone else.”) The pacing of the book isn’t always as suspenseful as it should be. There are a few lulls, which the author tries to fill with heavy foreshadowing. But the mysteries—and the words that describe them—are compelling enough to send readers to the islands for years to come.

A beautiful, evocative sophomore effort from Newbery honoree Wolk (Wolf Hollow, 2016). (Historical fiction. 9-13)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-101-99485-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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