Unusually intimate angles on a stimulating mix of figures.

Introductions to 20 celebrities, mostly artists or writers, and their pets.

Opening with Frida Kahlo and the fawn Granizo, centerpiece of her powerful painting The Wounded Deer, the gallery lines up a glittering array of prominent figures matched to pets that played significant roles in their lives and, usually, works. Some creatures, such as Karl Lagerfeld’s diamond-collared kitty Choupette, Ernest Hemingway’s six-toed Snowball, and T.S. Eliot’s fictive “Practical Cats” are celebrities in their own rights. Others, like the two crocodiles that took up residence in Dorothy Parker’s bathtub or Grip, the talking raven that made its way into both Charles Dickens’ Barnaby Rudge and a famous poem of Edgar Allen Poe’s, really should be. The many mentioned works of art in which pets feature are not reproduced here; instead, Quinn adds both visual continuity and a strong element of dignity to the proceedings with original, formally solemn, mostly full-face double portraits for each entry. Gallo’s narrative is not free of typos or pages of small type against dark backgrounds—but aside from her entry on Newton, which presents the apple falling on his head as fact and highlights his contributions to algebra without mentioning calculus, her petcentric overviews of each human subject’s life and achievements are generally both spot-on and rich in fascinating anecdotes. With the exception of Kahlo, humans profiled are European or American, and most are men.

Unusually intimate angles on a stimulating mix of figures. (Collective biography. 11-14)

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-3-7913-7425-3

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Prestel

Review Posted Online: Feb. 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020


Here is an adventure in a unique setting. The lively text and lovely watercolors document three and a half months of a summer the artist and author spent at the South Pole, as part of the National Science Foundation Antarctic Artists & Writers Program. Hooper describes everyday life aboard the research ship Laurence M. Gould, a sturdy orange icebreaker that scientists use to travel between the islands to study the wide variety of animals who come each year to breed and raise their young. An assortment of penguins, elephant seals, giant petrels, huge skuas, and leopard seals hold center stage. Scientists are less important than the serious business of successfully raising young in the short summer season. The author captures the drama of the ice-cold ocean, alive with life: “Swarms of barrel-shaped blue-tinged salps, stuck together in floating chains. Minute creatures with red eyes. Sliding through the water in a curving path like a ribbon.” The artist provides striking paintings of the landscape and the animals in soft washy colors, and quick pencil sketches. The ice is lemon gold with mauve shadows, and the sea a silver gray in the 24-hour day. Animals are expressive and individual. The krill, the tiny shrimp-like creatures that form the backbone of the ocean food chain, appear in luminous glory. The author concludes with a page on global warming, a map of the islands visited, and an index. From cover to cover a personal and informative journey. (Nonfiction. 7-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-7922-7188-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: National Geographic

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000




The life of Manjiro Nakahama, also known as John Mung, makes an amazing story: shipwrecked as a young fisherman for months on a remote island, rescued by an American whaler, he became the first Japanese resident of the US. Then, after further adventures at sea and in the California gold fields, he returned to Japan where his first-hand knowledge of America and its people earned him a central role in the modernization of his country after its centuries of peaceful isolation had ended. Expanding a passage from her Commodore Perry in the Land of the Shogun (1985, Newbery Honor), Blumberg not only delivers an absorbing tale of severe hardships and startling accomplishments, but also takes side excursions to give readers vivid pictures of life in mid-19th-century Japan, aboard a whaler, and amidst the California Gold Rush. The illustrations, a generous mix of contemporary photos and prints with Manjiro’s own simple, expressive drawings interspersed, are at least as revealing. Seeing a photo of Commodore Perry side by side with a Japanese artist’s painted portrait, or strange renditions of a New England town and a steam train, based solely on Manjiro’s verbal descriptions, not only captures the unique flavor of Japanese art, but points up just how high were the self-imposed barriers that separated Japan from the rest of the world. Once again, Blumberg shows her ability to combine high adventure with vivid historical detail to open a window onto the past. (source note) (Biography. 10-13)

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2001

ISBN: 0-688-17484-1

Page Count: 80

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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