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Brainjuice: American History, Fresh Squeezed [Hardcover]

Carol Diggory Shields
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Oct. 1 2002 BrainJuice
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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Product Description

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.

About the Author

Carol Diggory Shields is both a poet and a librarian and has the perfect qualifications for compressing entire bodies of knowledge into 48 or fewer lines of verse. The author of the Animagicals series and Food Fight!, she lives with her family and assorted animals, including a pet rabbit, Elliott, in Salinas, California.

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 children.


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The first Americans who roamed the prairie Read the first page
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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent July 28 2003
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
My children (9 & 11) and I love this book! You'll be amazed at what you can learn from this creative poetry. Reading this book will probably be the most fun you ever have learning about people and events in American History. It's pretty short, so you'll likely finish the entire book in one sitting, but it's SO CUTE! My daughter took this book to school to share with her class. I'm hoping to find more poetry of this sort from Carol Diggory Shields. You'll love it!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Emerging Questions! July 1 2005
By S. M Marson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
My 10 year old daughter has an interest in the history of the American Revolution. As a result, I purchased BRAIN JUICE AMERICAN HISTORY FRESH SQUEEZED. To pass the time on a plane ride, I started reading some of the poems to her. After I stopped, she started asking questions like, "Who is FDR?" "What do CCC and WPA stand for?" She wanted to know more about the Great Depression and how the stock market works. BRAIN JUICE opened the flood gates of questions and learning under the guise of playtime.

I suspect that BRAIN JUICE would be a wonderful tool for history teachers. The poems will get students to ask questions and learn about history in a painless manner. I hope the Shields will do the same thing for science.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent July 28 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
My children (9 & 11) and I love this book! You'll be amazed at what you can learn from this creative poetry. Reading this book will probably be the most fun you ever have learning about people and events in American History. It's pretty short, so you'll likely finish the entire book in one sitting, but it's SO CUTE! My daughter took this book to school to share with her class. I'm hoping to find more poetry of this sort from Carol Diggory Shields. You'll love it!
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