Annette Laing's The Snipesville Chronicles
Lincoln and His Boys
Elementary , Non-Fiction / March 19, 2018

This children’s chapter book, aimed at ages 8 – 12 years, is an easy read at 96 pages and features beautiful full-page illustrations. It begins in 1859 in the voice of one of Abraham Lincoln’s sons, Willie, who has been allowed to travel with his father on a business trip to discuss Lincoln’s running for President of the United States. Later, it follows another son, Tad, when the family is ensconced in the White House. This book shows a side of Abraham Lincoln that you’ll not find in most biographies–viewed through the eyes of his beloved children, and includes the wisdom he imparted to them through the difficult years of the Civil War. I greatly enjoyed this intimate look at this highly documented president, and even learned a few things I hadn’t known. The author states that all events are true–one heart-rending scene shows the youngest child giving a food gift he’d received to a hungry little girl at a train station–and includes an Author’s Note with details. It is a very attractive book that would make a nice gift, or a handsome addition to a Lincoln collection. originally posted on my historical review website

Rejected Princesses
Historical , Non-Fiction , Teen / March 19, 2018

From 1500 BCE to the 20th century, this compendium is packed with famous as well as lesser-known women of history who, in the animator-turned-author’s view, would not have made the cut in the film industry for various reasons. There are fairytale legends, empresses, actresses, women of the Bible, slaves, revolutionists, warriors, and even a few real princesses. With much humor, the author introduces readers to 100 women who made their mark in history, but would not be the best on-screen heroines for children. Since historical fact is sketchy when it comes to women’s history, the author outlines the likely fanciful details and includes footnotes where needed. The artwork is in a modern cartoonist style–Porath worked for DreamWorks Animation—with Art Notes and Trivia at the end of most chapters. This is a bulky, though well-made hardcover, with sleek pages and content organization that is pleasing to the eye. Though young readers may be drawn to its attractive appearance, it is recommended and, in fact, color-coded for PG through R ratings due to content with violence, abuse, sex, rape and self-harm. It makes an enjoyable read for those who like to delve into unremarked collections of history. originally posted on Historical Novels…

Alexander Hamilton: The Making of America
Elementary , Non-Fiction / March 18, 2018

Alexander Hamilton is much in the news lately, particularly with the Broadway play in such demand, and the current political atmosphere. This young adult biography is approximately 200 pages and includes a birth-to-death account of the life of this extraordinary founding father. It covers many important topics, such as mercantilism, checks and balances, tariffs, and, of course, the Federalist papers and the Constitution. It’s filled with drawings, paintings and portraits, as well as clearly labeled title pages with Alexander Hamilton quotes beneath. Visually appealing, well-paced, and simplistic enough to hold the interest of young readers, it is also a pleasant recap for adults. originally posted on my historical fiction review website

Courage & Defiance
Middle Grade , Non-Fiction / March 18, 2018

“Only a drop in the ocean, that’s what they say. Well now, the ocean consists of drops.” – Mogens Fog An emotionally affecting story based on a collection of survivors’ memoirs, this WWII account focuses on the resistance efforts in Denmark during the five years of German occupation. Readers are immediately drawn in with riveting action from the Danish spies and saboteurs—ordinary men and women who, instead of meekly surrendering their freedom and watching their fellow countrymen in danger, chose to covertly help the official resistance organizations by destroying German machinery and weaponry, disrupting their supply lines and secretly transporting the Jewish population to nearby neutral Sweden. At a great risk to their own lives—and in fact many of the Danes featured were eventually sent to concentration camps—these men and women were brave, admirable heroes of WWII and humbly represent the spirit of the Danish people in a time of great deprivation and strife. Courage & Defiance easily garners interest in its subject, giving supporting information on the causes of the war succinctly, and age appropriate descriptions of Hitler’s rise without overwhelming details. Headings include a date, relevant quote or newspaper headline, and there are captioned photos throughout. A vocabulary…