Don Brown, Author . Roaring Brook/Flash Point $17.95 (64p) ISBN 978-1-59643-221-5 ISBN 978-1-59643-222-2

Brown, noted for his numerous picture-book biographies of lesser-known figures, here offers a slightly older audience “you are there”–style accounts of two signal dates in American history. Expert pacing, novelistic incorporation of quotations and well-observed but straightforward reportage draw readers into the action. He humanizes complicated ideas. For example, Let It Begin opens vividly as King George III wins the Seven Years’ War: “Celebration was surely in order. But George could not celebrate,” writes Brown, quickly explaining how Britain’s war debt contributes to the start of the Revolution. Looking at the Titanic , Brown explains the causes of the disaster and, describing the passengers’ and crew’s behavior, finds the details that speak loudest (a passenger stuck on the sinking ship gives his life jacket to a woman boarding a lifeboat). His subtle watercolor-and-pencil compositions skillfully capture moments in the text—people’s facial expressions; the blood of battle; rushing, roiling, icy water; as well as both the valiant and understated gestures of some of the actors. Top-notch. Ages 6–10. (Dec.)

Reviewed on: 12/01/2008
Release date: 12/01/2008
Genre: Children's
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