USS CONSTELLATION

PRIDE OF THE AMERICAN NAVY

The Constellation hasn’t received the press accorded the Constitution, “Old Ironsides,” but it was built at the same time (though broken up and rebuilt just prior to the Civil War), and also has a long, successful history in battle, as a hunter of slave ships, and as a training vessel. Supported by photos and documents (mostly, as is his wont, from his personal collection), Myers enhances his account of that history, not with the occasional sound-bite or factoid, but with the full text of a contemporary ballad, extended passages from memoirs, a rather sobering chapter from a crew handbook on the proper handling of munitions, and the like. He’s a bit hazy on nautical terminology (see contradictory info about masts, and he uses “fore and aft” as a technical term in the glossary without ever defining them); some of the illustrations are similarly indistinct; and a reproduced page from a modern comic book makes an uneasy fit. Still, this readable, well-deserved tribute to a recently restored national treasure, currently docked in Baltimore, will reach a wider audience than the locally published profiles currently available. (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: June 15, 2004

ISBN: 0-8234-1816-2

Page Count: 86

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2004

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FIVE TRUCKS

Floca (The Frightful Story of Harry Walfish, 1997, etc.) offers a great explication of the small trucks that airline passengers see scurrying around jets on the runways. In brightly painted illustrations and simple descriptions, he introduces each vehicle, explains what it does, and shows it in action, e.g., the truck called the baggage conveyor is shown hoisting suitcases into the belly of the plane. All five trucks’ duties point to a big finale when the plane takes off. Given preschoolers’ well-documented fascination with heavy machinery, this book will strike a chord with young air travelers, and answer the questions of older travelers as well. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-7894-2561-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: DK Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1999

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ISAAC THE ICE CREAM TRUCK

Newcomer Santoro’s story of the ice cream truck that pined for a more important role in life suffers from a premise that’s well-worn and still fraying—the person or object that longs to be something “more” in life, only to find out that his or its lot in life is enough, after all. Isaac the ice cream truck envies all the bigger, larger, more important vehicles he encounters (the big wheels are depicted as a rude lot, sullen, surly, and snarling, hardly a group to excite much envy) in a day, most of all the fire trucks and their worthy occupants. When Isaac gets that predictable boost to his self-image—he serves up ice cream to over-heated firefighters after a big blaze—it comes as an unmistakable putdown to the picture-book audience: the children who cherished Isaac—“They would gather around him, laughing and happy”—weren’t reason enough for him to be contented. Santoro equips the tale with a tune of Isaac’s very own, and retro scenes in tropical-hued colored pencil that deftly convey the speed of the trucks with skating, skewed angles. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8050-5296-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1999

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