The book quotes Lincoln as saying, “Whatever you are, be a good one.” This team goes beyond good; they excel at making...



From Ben Franklin: His Wit and Wisdom from A-Z (2011), the dynamic duo of Schroeder and O’Brien here turn their talents to Abe Lincoln.

The alphabetic approach allows them to zero in on fascinating tidbits about both Lincoln himself and historical information pertinent to his past. Each letter is given from two to five entries. For A, Amendment, Autobiography, Ax and Aloud (as in reading) are cited. Many choices are obvious, but others may surprise readers. J is for Jack, a soldier doll that his sons played with. O is for Our American Cousin, the play Lincoln was watching when he was shot. Q is for Quincy (where he debated Douglas), Quorum and Quick (the Gettysburg Address). X is for Xenia, Ohio, where he made one of his railroad stops; the people swarmed the train and ate his lunch. Z is probably the most unusual one, standing for Zouaves, units of volunteer soldiers known for their colorful uniforms. O’Brien’s signature style lends the tableaux enormous flair, humor and zing. Comical tiny details are mischievous and clever. On the A page: A boy wearing a fringed shirt is holding an ax next to a gargantuan tube of Lincoln Logs filled with chopped-down trees.

The book quotes Lincoln as saying, “Whatever you are, be a good one.” This team goes beyond good; they excel at making history real, enjoyable and memorable. (Informational picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8234-2420-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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            The legions of fans who over the years have enjoyed dePaola’s autobiographical picture books will welcome this longer gathering of reminiscences.  Writing in an authentically childlike voice, he describes watching the new house his father was building go up despite a succession of disasters, from a brush fire to the hurricane of 1938.  Meanwhile, he also introduces family, friends, and neighbors, adds Nana Fall River to his already well-known Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs, remembers his first day of school (“ ‘ When do we learn to read?’  I asked.  ‘Oh, we don’t learn how to read in kindergarten.  We learn to read next year, in first grade.’  ‘Fine,’ I said.  ‘I’ll be back next year.’  And I walked right out of school.”), recalls holidays, and explains his indignation when the plot of Disney’s “Snow White” doesn’t match the story he knows.  Generously illustrated with vignettes and larger scenes, this cheery, well-knit narrative proves that an old dog can learn new tricks, and learn them surpassingly well.  (Autobiography.  7-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-399-23246-X

Page Count: 58

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1999

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Stirring encouragement for all “little people” with “big dreams.” (Picture book/biography. 5-7)


From the Little People, BIG DREAMS series

“There’s nothing I can’t be,” young Maya thinks, and then shows, in this profile for newly independent readers, imported from Spain.

The inspirational message is conveyed through a fine skein of biographical details. It begins with her birth in St. Louis and the prejudice she experienced growing up in a small Arkansas town and closes with her reading of a poem “about her favorite thing: hope” at Bill Clinton’s presidential inauguration. In between, it mentions the (unspecified) “attack” by her mother’s boyfriend and subsequent elective muteness she experienced as a child, as well as some of the varied pursuits that preceded her eventual decision to become a writer. Kaiser goes on in a closing spread to recap Angelou’s life and career, with dates, beneath a quartet of portrait photos. Salaberria’s simple illustrations, filled with brown-skinned figures, are more idealized than photorealistic, but, though only in the cover image do they make direct contact with readers’, Angelou’s huge eyes are an effective focal point in each scene. The message is similar in the co-published Amelia Earhart, written by Ma Isabel Sánchez Vegara (and also translated by Pitt), but the pictures are more fanciful as illustrator Mariadiamantes endows the aviator with a mane of incandescent orange hair and sends her flying westward (in contradiction of the text and history) on her final around-the-world flight.

Stirring encouragement for all “little people” with “big dreams.” (Picture book/biography. 5-7)

Pub Date: July 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-84780-889-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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