LOST CITY

THE DISCOVERY OF MACHU PICCHU

Magnificent watercolor landscapes and mystical hooey form the high and low points, respectively, of this tale of archaeologist Hiram Bingham’s discovery of the Incan city of Machu Picchu in 1911. Drawing heavily, according to an author’s note and bibliography, on Bingham’s own accounts of the expedition, Lewin creates in Bingham a protagonist consumed by wonder and driven by determination to discover a rumored lost Incan city. As he pushes further and further into the Andes, the full-bleed illustrations open up a glorious world of rushing rivers and jungled mountains, until he uncovers, with the aid of the indigenous farmers, Machu Picchu itself. Unfortunately, the narrative relies on invented dialogue and, even worse, a fictional character, based on a boy mentioned in Bingham’s accounts, who foresees Bingham’s arrival in a dream. These sequences stretch credulity past the breaking point and beg the question, why doesn’t the author trust the spirit of discovery enough to allow it to carry readers along? The story ends abruptly, with the discovery of the lost city; a further note describes the subsequent excavation. (Picture book/nonfiction. 5-9)

Pub Date: June 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-399-23302-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2003

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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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TWENTY-ONE ELEPHANTS AND STILL STANDING

Strong rhythms and occasional full or partial rhymes give this account of P.T. Barnum’s 1884 elephant parade across the newly opened Brooklyn Bridge an incantatory tone. Catching a whiff of public concern about the new bridge’s sturdiness, Barnum seizes the moment: “’I will stage an event / that will calm every fear, erase every worry, / about that remarkable bridge. / My display will amuse, inform / and astound some. / Or else my name isn’t Barnum!’” Using a rich palette of glowing golds and browns, Roca imbues the pachyderms with a calm solidity, sending them ambling past equally solid-looking buildings and over a truly monumental bridge—which soars over a striped Big Top tent in the final scene. A stately rendition of the episode, less exuberant, but also less fictionalized, than Phil Bildner’s Twenty-One Elephants (2004), illustrated by LeUyen Pham. (author’s note, resource list) (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2005

ISBN: 0-618-44887-X

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2005

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