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A brightly colored retread of voting rights in an easy package.

Hard-won civic rights turn Election Day into something special for one Black mother.

Madear’s children aren’t fully aware of how special today is, but their mother—sporting one of her best dresses—joyously explains that this Tuesday in 1969 will be the first day she gets to vote. She delivers a straightforward civic and history lesson to her children (one of whom narrates) and to readers: “Many obstacles [were] put up to prevent Black folks from voting.” The digital watercolor and mixed-media illustrations become relatively muted during flashbacks in which distressed Black folk are subjected to poll taxes, reading tests, and “even a test where people had to correctly guess the number of jelly beans in a jar!” The subsequent spread of protests contrasts with the vibrant images of Madear with kids in tow proceeding to their city hall in Taylorville, Louisiana. The monumental shift from the disenfranchised past to the present of 1969 is significant, but even still, the young narrator witnesses the mean looks Madear receives as she queues before the voting booth. Nonetheless, she votes and triumphantly leaves the building in her floral dress, bright orange coat, and head scarf, sun streaming behind her. Her children are equally ecstatic; the Voting Rights Act of 1965 would be just the beginning of Madear and her family’s electoral participation. The book concludes with the family celebrating the election of Barack Obama in 2008. This straightforward yet empowering tale will get youngsters energized for Election Day.

A brightly colored retread of voting rights in an easy package. (author’s and illustrator’s notes) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: July 16, 2024

ISBN: 9780593615744

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2024

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The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted...

Reinvention is the name of the game for two blobs of clay.

A blue-eyed gray blob and a brown-eyed brown blob sit side by side, unsure as to what’s going to happen next. The gray anticipates an adventure, while the brown appears apprehensive. A pair of hands descends, and soon, amid a flurry of squishing and prodding and poking and sculpting, a handsome gray wolf and a stately brown owl emerge. The hands disappear, leaving the friends to their own devices. The owl is pleased, but the wolf convinces it that the best is yet to come. An ear pulled here and an extra eye placed there, and before you can shake a carving stick, a spurt of frenetic self-exploration—expressed as a tangled black scribble—reveals a succession of smug hybrid beasts. After all, the opportunity to become a “pig-e-phant” doesn’t come around every day. But the sound of approaching footsteps panics the pair of Picassos. How are they going to “fix [them]selves” on time? Soon a hippopotamus and peacock are staring bug-eyed at a returning pair of astonished hands. The creative naiveté of the “clay mates” is perfectly captured by Petty’s feisty, spot-on dialogue: “This was your idea…and it was a BAD one.” Eldridge’s endearing sculpted images are photographed against the stark white background of an artist’s work table to great effect.

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted fun of their own . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-30311-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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From the Diary of an Ice Princess series

A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre.

Ice princess Lina must navigate family and school in this early chapter read.

The family picnic is today. This is not a typical gathering, since Lina’s maternal relatives are a royal family of Windtamers who have power over the weather and live in castles floating on clouds. Lina herself is mixed race, with black hair and a tan complexion like her Asian-presenting mother’s; her Groundling father appears to be a white human. While making a grand entrance at the castle of her grandfather, the North Wind, she fails to successfully ride a gust of wind and crashes in front of her entire family. This prompts her stern grandfather to ask that Lina move in with him so he can teach her to control her powers. Desperate to avoid this, Lina and her friend Claudia, who is black, get Lina accepted at the Hilltop Science and Arts Academy. Lina’s parents allow her to go as long as she does lessons with grandpa on Saturdays. However, fitting in at a Groundling school is rough, especially when your powers start freak winter storms! With the story unfurling in diary format, bright-pink–highlighted grayscale illustrations help move the plot along. There are slight gaps in the storytelling and the pacing is occasionally uneven, but Lina is full of spunk and promotes self-acceptance.

A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre. (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 25, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-35393-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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