Although young readers will not already know the names of these women nor the significance of their achievements in flying...

AIM FOR THE SKIES

JERRIE MOCK AND JOAN MERRIAM SMITH'S RACE TO COMPLETE AMELIA EARHART'S QUEST

Another picture-book biography of women pilots who made aviation records lines up on the runway.

At 7, Jerrie Mock declared she was going to be a pilot and fly the skies. And she did. Joan Merriam Smith was inspired by a plane ride at age 15. Both young white women had the same idol and same goal: to follow Amelia Earhart’s route to fly around the world. Unbeknownst to each other, they each spent months eagerly making flight plans and studying weather reports. But weeks before their takeoffs, coincidentally scheduled on the same day, their plans almost crashed. News broke that two women had decided to fly around the world at the same time! What should they do? Turn the event into a race, of course. Numerous obstacles had to be overcome, but at the end, it was Jerrie who won the race. The straightforward narrative highlights the passion and determination of these two unknown women who broke barriers and achieved their dreams. Tidbits, such as the fact that each had a good-luck charm, add human interest. Softly colored illustrations realistically paint the scenes, but the pastel palette seems too demure for profiling these two gutsy women.

Although young readers will not already know the names of these women nor the significance of their achievements in flying history, this visual chronicle can serve as an introduction to the era. (author’s note, maps, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 6-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-58536-381-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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A reasonably solid grounding in constitutional rights, their flexibility, lacunae, and hard-won corrections, despite a few...

WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL ABOUT FREEDOM

Shamir offers an investigation of the foundations of freedoms in the United States via its founding documents, as well as movements and individuals who had great impacts on shaping and reshaping those institutions.

The opening pages of this picture book get off to a wobbly start with comments such as “You know that feeling you get…when you see a wide open field that you can run through without worrying about traffic or cars? That’s freedom.” But as the book progresses, Shamir slowly steadies the craft toward that wide-open field of freedom. She notes the many obvious-to-us-now exclusivities that the founding political documents embodied—that the entitled, white, male authors did not extend freedom to enslaved African-Americans, Native Americans, and women—and encourages readers to learn to exercise vigilance and foresight. The gradual inclusion of these left-behind people paints a modestly rosy picture of their circumstances today, and the text seems to give up on explaining how Native Americans continue to be left behind. Still, a vital part of what makes freedom daunting is its constant motion, and that is ably expressed. Numerous boxed tidbits give substance to the bigger political picture. Who were the abolitionists and the suffragists, what were the Montgomery bus boycott and the “Uprising of 20,000”? Faulkner’s artwork conveys settings and emotions quite well, and his drawing of Ruby Bridges is about as darling as it gets. A helpful timeline and bibliography appear as endnotes.

A reasonably solid grounding in constitutional rights, their flexibility, lacunae, and hard-won corrections, despite a few misfires. (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-399-54728-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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Phoned-in illustrations keep this quick overview firmly planted on the launch pad.

THE BIG BEYOND

THE STORY OF SPACE TRAVEL

A capsule history of space exploration, from early stargazing to probes roaming the surface of Mars.

In loosely rhymed couplets Carter’s high-speed account zooms past the inventions of constellations, telescopes, and flying machines to the launches of Sputnik I, the “Saturn Five” (spelled out, probably, to facilitate the rhyme) that put men on the moon, and later probes. He caps it all with an enticing suggestion: “We’ll need an astronaut (or two)— / so what do you think? Could it be YOU?” Cushley lines up a notably diverse array of prospective young space travelers for this finish, but anachronistic earlier views of a dark-skinned astronaut floating in orbit opposite poetic references to the dogs, cats, and other animals sent into space in the 1950s and a model of the space shuttle on a shelf next to a line of viewers watching the televised moon landing in 1969 show no great regard for verisimilitude. Also, his full-page opening picture of the Challenger, its ports painted to look like a smiley face, just moments before it blew up is a decidedly odd choice to illustrate the poem’s opening countdown. As with his cosmological lyric Once upon a Star (2018, illustrated by Mar Hernández), the poet closes with a page of further facts arranged as an acrostic.

Phoned-in illustrations keep this quick overview firmly planted on the launch pad. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68010-147-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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