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The Book of Time Outs
by Dee Lucke (Simon & Schuster, 2008) manages to hit the kid’s mark while sticking to its subject. Christopher Columbus sailed to America in 1492, we all know. “For show and tell,” Lucke writes, “he presented Queen Isabella with a sweet potato.” She wasn’t impressed. Then, he told a whopper: “The place is just littered with gold and gems.” Spaniards, led by Columbus, flocked to the New World and became enraged when they discovered the scam. “Then Christopher Columbus discovered what happens when you don’t tell the truth,” Lucke observes. “He got a time out with leg irons and a trip back to Spain to explain it all to the queen.” Thirteen other subjects are treated, including Rosa Parks, whose time-out was for correct behavior.
Into the Volcano: A Graphic Novel
by Don Wood (Blue Sky, 2008). Two brothers are pulled out of school to spend time with Aunt Lulu on the island nation of Kocalaha. The younger brother is eager to learn about the new world; the older one, cautious. Wood’s illustrations serve well, including the first panel in the chapter about arrival: a wide-smiling, mirror-glasses-wearing, bristly face announces, “They call me ‘Mango Jo.’ I’m your ride.”
by Page McBrier, with illustrations by Lou Lohstoeter (Aladdin, 2004), takes a gentle approach to a geographical adventure, using rich, representational paintings to reveal the daily life of a Ugandan family.
Days on the Farm
by Kim Lewis (Walker Books, 2001 features an English farm and a border collie named Floss in a collection of tales. The painted illustrations are dramatic.