This charming narrative of a determined girl’s artistic talent and will to succeed in the family business makes a compelling...

THÉRÈSE MAKES A TAPESTRY

A girl in 17th-century Paris weaves a small tapestry as a gift for her father, and her work receives special recognition from Louis XIV.

Thérèse is part of an artistic family whose members all work in the king’s service. Her father and oldest brother are painters, and another brother is a weaver in the famous Gobelins Manufactory, which creates tapestries for the king’s palaces. Thérèse and her mother prepare yarn for the tapestries, but Thérèse wants to become a weaver herself, even though women were not permitted to work as weavers at that time. With the help of family and friends, Thérèse uses a painting by her father as the design for a tapestry that she weaves at home. The king is enchanted by her work, and he commissions a large version of her tapestry for his new palace at Versailles. Meticulous research by both author and illustrator makes the complex process of tapestry weaving accessible to all readers, but Thérèse’s story will be of particular interest to those interested in fiber arts. Detailed illustrations in jewel tones help create a believable personality for Thérèse and a convincing setting in the workshop in Paris. The final pages include a helpful author’s note on historical background, a glossary, a list of French terms with pronunciation, and a map of the Gobelins facility.

This charming narrative of a determined girl’s artistic talent and will to succeed in the family business makes a compelling story on an unusual topic. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: March 8, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-60606-473-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Getty Publications

Review Posted Online: Jan. 9, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2016

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THE STONE OF FIRE

From the Cavemice series , Vol. 1

Warp back in time for a prehistoric spinoff adventure with Geronimo Stilton’s ancestor, Geronimo Stiltonoot, in Old Mouse City.

Readers will find Geronimo Stiltonoot a familiar character, outfitted differently from descendant Stilton yet still running a newspaper and having wild adventures. In this introduction to prehistoric mouse life, someone has stolen the most powerful and important artifact housed by the Old Mouse City Mouseum: the Stone of Fire. It’s up to Stiltonoot and his fellow sleuth and friend, Hercule Poirat, to uncover not only the theft, but a dangerous plot that jeopardizes all of Old Mouse City. As stand-ins for the rest of the Stilton cast, Stiltonoot has in common with Stilton a cousin named Trap, a sister named Thea and a nephew named Benjamin. The slapstick comedy and design, busy with type changes and color, will be familiar for Stilton readers. The world is fictionalized for comedic effect, featuring funny uses for dinosaurs and cheeky references to how far back in time they are, with only the occasional sidebar that presents facts. The story takes a bit long to get started, spending a lot of time reiterating the worldbuilding information laid out before the first chapter. But once it does start, it is an adventure Stilton readers will enjoy. Geronimo Stiltonoot has the right combination of familiarity and newness to satisfy Stilton fans. (Fiction. 6-10)

 

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-545-44774-4

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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COOLIES

As a boy and his grandmother celebrate the Ching Ming Festival, a holiday honoring one’s ancestors, the grandmother tells the story of her great-grandfather, Shek, who came from China to California in 1865 to work on the transcontinental railroad. Shek and his little brother Wong endured the two-month trip to America and immediately signed up with the Central Pacific Railroad Company to work as laborers. The Chinese workers, known derogatorily as “coolies,” from a Chinese word meaning “bitter labor,” were paid less than their European counterparts and were often given the most dangerous jobs, those involving explosives, for example, and were forced to work in terrible weather conditions. (The author’s note informs the reader that thousands of Chinese laborers died while working on the railroad.) Shek and the other Chinese workers tried to stand up for themselves by staging a strike, but were forced to back down before any of their demands were met. Even when the railroad’s completion is celebrated, the importance of the Chinese laborers is ignored. After four years on the railroad, Shek and Wong used their earnings to open a store in San Francisco and eventually brought the rest of their family over to the US. Soentpiet’s signature glowing watercolors bathe the images with light. The pictures of big scenes—the teeming shipyard, the crowded living quarters on the ship, a campfire surrounded by snow-covered mountains, a busy San Francisco street—are striking and grand. The design—each double-page spread laid out with ¾ of the page as illustration while the ¼ on the left holds the text in a box—allows for a fuller view of the sweeping scenes. This is an important story, full of drama and emotion and it is here given its proper recognition and tribute in both words and glorious art. Perhaps it will encourage other grandparents to share their family history as well. Masterful. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-399-23227-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2001

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