A sunny opener for more-nuanced overviews like Judith St. George and David Small’s classic So You Want to Be President...

READ REVIEW

WHAT IS THE PRESIDENT'S JOB?

A starter volume for newly independent readers curious about what presidents of the U.S. are supposed to do.

Singer presents both the basic responsibilities—meeting foreign leaders, working with Congress to pass laws, being in charge of the armed forces that “keep Americans safe”—and steady rounds of public appearances and speeches. She also lays out presidential qualifications (the Constitutional sort, anyway: “You must be at least 35 years old. No kids allowed!”), explains how election campaigns and voting work, and offers quick tours of Washington, D.C., and the White House. Ronald Reagan, John F. Kennedy, and a few other presidents from the distant past make cameos, but most of the big, bright photos feature Barack Obama and his immediate predecessors. A quiz and an invitation to presidential wannabes to answer the question “What would you do for the country?” close this presidential primer.

A sunny opener for more-nuanced overviews like Judith St. George and David Small’s classic So You Want to Be President (2000) or the newest edition of Eyewitness: Presidents (2017). (index, reading guide for parents) (Informational early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4654-5749-3

Page Count: 48

Publisher: DK Publishing

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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The information is not uninteresting, but its delivery is far from compelling.

FASHION RULES!

A CLOSER LOOK AT CLOTHING IN THE MIDDLE AGES

A clueless itinerant jester becomes a device for communicating medieval fashion.

After getting fired from his job as a jester for the king, traveling entertainer Bickford arrives in a new village hoping to find work. There, Bickford bumps into Trowbridge, a local, who takes the jester on a tour, pointing out the class differences and social roles to be discerned based on people’s attire, taking care to articulate the potential consequences of breaking the rules. “Those two women are wearing a conical hat called a henin…they are showing that they are very important women by the height of their hats,” Trowbridge lectures, and “It can mean death to anyone outside the royal class who dares to wear purple cloth.” The dialogue throughout is so expository as to feel hopelessly stiff, and the illustrations are likewise bland and posed. Very occasional insets offer further exposition. From a plot standpoint, it is mystifying that Bickford, traveling on foot even “for days,” should be so thoroughly unfamiliar with the mores in a community close enough to his place of origin to share his language. The title of the book is a bit of a misnomer, as well, as the serfs’ tatters would hardly have been considered “fashion.” Bickford and Trowbridge both present white; occasional figures in the background appear to be people of color.

The information is not uninteresting, but its delivery is far from compelling. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-63440-905-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Red Chair Press

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2020

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A solid resource for a classroom or school library about a phenomenal Cherokee woman that feels a bit like flipping through...

WILMA'S WAY HOME

THE LIFE OF WILMA MANKILLER

From the Big Words series

This latest in Rappaport’s Big Words series highlights Wilma Mankiller, the Cherokee girl who grows up to become “the first woman chief of the Cherokee Nation.”

The opening text and accompanying illustration immediately place readers in “rural Oklahoma” on the Mankillers’ farm, where Wilma spends her early years in her “family of eleven.” Although poor in material wealth, the Mankillers are “rich in love and community,” and Wilma is raised with the understanding of Gadugi, the Cherokee “philosophy of helping each other.” When a new government policy relocates Wilma’s family into urban life in San Francisco, Wilma experiences the threat of acculturation. Yet despite that danger and other challenges during her early adult years, Wilma finds a new community at the Oakland Indian Center and creates opportunities to help other Native people until she finally returns to Oklahoma, where she goes on to accomplish her most memorable work. Rappaport has produced a thoroughly researched biography enhanced by Mankiller’s own words, and though it’s heavy with text, readers should find that Choctaw artist Kukuk’s detailed scratchboard and watercolor illustrations provide visual balance. The combined effect gives readers a sense of intimacy. 

A solid resource for a classroom or school library about a phenomenal Cherokee woman that feels a bit like flipping through a family photo album. (author’s note, illustrator’s note, important events, pronunciation guide, resources) (Picture book/biography. 6-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4847-4718-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2018

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