BrainJuice: American History, Fresh Squeezed!: Handprint Books

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9781929766628: BrainJuice: American History, Fresh Squeezed!: Handprint Books

History homework getting you down? Too much to learn? Names? Dates? Important events? Hang in there! Help is on the way! Adroitly reducing reams of boring data about our nation’s past to a generous selection of over-the-top verses, Carol Diggory Shields presents our history with incisive hilarity. Here, for example, is her wry interpretation of the Louisiana Purchase:
Tom Jefferson went shopping for a city one fine day
Something in the South with a harbor or a bay,
“Voila!” said the French, “The city of your dreams!
For only 15 million, we will sell you New Orleans.”

Nutritionally balanced, guaranteed pure, 100% refreshing, and cleverly distilled future BrainJuice topics will include biography, literature, and geography.

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About the Author:

Carol Diggory Shields is a poet, a humorist, and a librarian -- the perfect qualifications for reducing immense bodies of knowledge into a very few lines of extremely funny verse. Grateful teachers and students can direct fan letters to her in Salinas, Cal

Richard Thompson is a political cartoonist whose work appears regularly in the Washington Post and US News & World Report. This is the first book he has illustrated for children. He lives in Arlington, Virginia with his wife, Amy, and their two young boys.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 4-8-These more than 40 short poems, filled with humor high and low, don't really attempt to teach about the events, but they offer amusing commentary on them. Like fractured fairy tales, they are best read by those already familiar with the material referenced, in this case, U.S. history from the dinosaur age ("The first Americans who roamed the prairie/Were kind of big and kind of scary") to the present day (the close call election of 2000 shows George W. as a jack-in-the-box, popping out of a ballot box). The tone takes a serious turn at the Trail of Tears, both World Wars (although Hitler, Tojo, and Mussolini are each described as being "worse than a movie meanie"), and the fall of the World Trade Center Towers. The poems may not be great literature, but there are more hits than misses, and the irreverent tone will appeal to older kids. A time line runs along the top of each page, covering items important (the Industrial Revolution) and intriguing (1938 states, "Radio drama of H. G. Wells' War of the Worlds causes national panic"). Numerous pen-and-ink drawings add style and fun. Like all good cartoonists, Thompson knows how to do a lot with a little, and makes it look effortless as well. Creative teachers will find a multitude of uses for this book. Kids may enjoy writing their own poems about historical events. Recent studies show a general lack of interest in and knowledge of history. Brain Juice may help counteract this trend.
Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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