An efficient introduction to another groundbreaking woman.

HEADSTRONG HALLIE!

THE STORY OF HALLIE MORSE DAGGETT, THE FIRST FEMALE "FIRE GUARD"

Growing up roaming the forests of California’s Siskiyou Mountains, the only thing Hallie Morse Daggett fears is fire.

She’s seen it devastate the forests, and it’s come terrifyingly close to her own home, and she brings food to the men of the U.S. Forest Service whenever they fight fires nearby. When she grows up she applies to work for them—again and again, always to be told they don’t hire women. But when, in 1913, a fire-lookout position opens up right before fire season begins and Daggett, now 30, again applies, the Forest Service finally says yes. The men take bets that she won’t last in the tiny, isolated cabin she’s assigned, but of course she does, spotting 40 fires in her first season. When, 14 years later, the wee cabin is replaced by a much fancier installation, Daggett retires after only one season in it, a decision framed by Bissonette in her admiring, economically engaging narration as prompted by her distaste for frippery. In her author’s note, Bissonette describes the paucity of the historical record and fills in the scant details of Daggett’s life following her retirement. In Hohn’s illustrations, Daggett appears as a lanky, determined White girl and woman. The backdrop of trees and mountains she appears against is rendered in a disappointingly pastel palette, effectively foregrounding Daggett but failing to represent the region’s rugged majesty. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at 60.1% of actual size.)

An efficient introduction to another groundbreaking woman. (Picture book/biography. 5-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 15, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5341-1061-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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A unique angle on a watershed moment in the civil rights era.

I AM RUBY BRIDGES

The New Orleans school child who famously broke the color line in 1960 while surrounded by federal marshals describes the early days of her experience from a 6-year-old’s perspective.

Bridges told her tale to younger children in 2009’s Ruby Bridges Goes to School, but here the sensibility is more personal, and the sometimes-shocking historical photos have been replaced by uplifting painted scenes. “I didn’t find out what being ‘the first’ really meant until the day I arrived at this new school,” she writes. Unfrightened by the crowd of “screaming white people” that greets her at the school’s door (she thinks it’s like Mardi Gras) but surprised to find herself the only child in her classroom, and even the entire building, she gradually realizes the significance of her act as (in Smith’s illustration) she compares a small personal photo to the all-White class photos posted on a bulletin board and sees the difference. As she reflects on her new understanding, symbolic scenes first depict other dark-skinned children marching into classes in her wake to friendly greetings from lighter-skinned classmates (“School is just school,” she sensibly concludes, “and kids are just kids”) and finally an image of the bright-eyed icon posed next to a soaring bridge of reconciliation. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A unique angle on a watershed moment in the civil rights era. (author and illustrator notes, glossary) (Autobiographical picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-338-75388-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

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Informative yet optimistic, this cri du coeur from Planet Awesome deserves wide attention.

OUR PLANET! THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE EARTH

From the Our Universe series , Vol. 6

The sixth in McAnulty’s Our Universe series focuses on Earth’s human-caused problems, offering some family-level activities for mitigation.

Vivaciously narrated by “Planet Awesome,” the text establishes facts about how Earth’s location with regard to the sun allows life to flourish, the roles of the ocean and atmosphere, and the distinctions between weather and climate. McAnulty clearly explains how people have accelerated climate change “because so many human things need energy.” Soft-pedaling, she avoids overt indictment of fossil fuels: “Sometimes energy leads to dirty water, dirty land, and dirty air.” Dire changes are afoot: “Some land is flooding. Other land is too dry—and hot. YIKES! Not good.” “And when I’m in trouble, Earthlings are in trouble, too.” Litchfield’s engaging art adds important visual information where the perky text falls short. On one spread, a factory complex spews greenhouse gases in three plumes, each identified by the chemical symbols for carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. Throughout, planet Earth is appealingly represented with animated facial features and arms—one green, one blue. The palette brightens and darkens in sync with the text’s respective messages of hope and alarm. Final pages introduce alternative energy sources—wind, hydro, solar, and “human power—that’s from your own two feet.” Lastly, Earth provides excellent ideas for hyperlocal change, from buying less new stuff to planting trees. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Informative yet optimistic, this cri du coeur from Planet Awesome deserves wide attention. (author’s note, numerical facts, atmospheric facts, ideas for action, sources) (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 5, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-78249-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

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