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School Library Journal
The mix of text and illustrations, mainly sepia-toned, on every spread makes these introductory titles accessible to young readers. Freedom opens with an explanation of the Underground Railroad and a definition of "slaves," but little space is given to the slave experience. The bulk of the book is devoted to traveling the Underground Railroad. Conductors, stations, codes written in quilts, songs, and maps showing routes slaves took are highlighted, but the maps of the United States and Africa are hard to read. Tenement has an old map of the Lower East Side and explanations of life in the New York neighborhood in the 1800s: the size and condition of tenement apartments, doing the laundry, cholera, children's games, work, etc. Some statements in both titles can be misleading; for example, "Slave families were often torn apart.... The family could be apart for years." The likelihood that they might never see one another again is not addressed. Tenement refers to "privies (outhouses)" as "bathrooms." Better books are available on both topics.
—Susan LissimCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.