A wonderful picture book about creativity and collaboration.

When Bob and Nancy begin to explore their artistic talents, they are children, born, respectively, in 1914 and 1928.

They will grow up to become Robert McCloskey, two-time Caldecott winner, including one for Make Way for Ducklings (1941), and Nancy Schön, sculptor of the famous ducklings, inspired by the picture book, in the Boston Public Garden, installed in 1987. The trajectories of these two and their eventual friendship (after many years of struggle to be recognized as an artist, Nancy would also create works based on other McCloskey characters) are chronicled in a lively and loving manner that will excite children and adults alike. The digital illustrations, like crayon sketches that evoke an earlier era, push the story forward in a rush of humorous elements that emphasize the unusual devotion of these two people to their art. While creating the book, Bob buys live ducks to study in his New York City apartment. Years later, Nancy purchases “a duck’s foot from the butcher to study the way its joints move.” Nancy worries about whether Bob will allow her to use his work as the basis for her sculpture, but when a friend brings them together, the established book creator warms to the idea and becomes genuinely excited when he sees children react to Nancy’s models. Most characters present White, though a few children of color appear. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A wonderful picture book about creativity and collaboration. (author’s note with photos, timeline, selected bibliography) (Informational picture book. 7-11)

Pub Date: April 11, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-593-37335-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Random House Studio

Review Posted Online: Jan. 24, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2023

1001 BEES

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere.

This book is buzzing with trivia.

Follow a swarm of bees as they leave a beekeeper’s apiary in search of a new home. As the scout bees traverse the fields, readers are provided with a potpourri of facts and statements about bees. The information is scattered—much like the scout bees—and as a result, both the nominal plot and informational content are tissue-thin. There are some interesting facts throughout the book, but many pieces of trivia are too, well trivial, to prove useful. For example, as the bees travel, readers learn that “onion flowers are round and fluffy” and “fennel is a plant that is used in cooking.” Other facts are oversimplified and as a result are not accurate. For example, monofloral honey is defined as “made by bees who visit just one kind of flower” with no acknowledgment of the fact that bees may range widely, and swarm activity is described as a springtime event, when it can also occur in summer and early fall. The information in the book, such as species identification and measurement units, is directed toward British readers. The flat, thin-lined artwork does little to enhance the story, but an “I spy” game challenging readers to find a specific bee throughout is amusing.

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere. (Informational picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-500-65265-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021


From the Ordinary People Change the World series

Quick and slick, but ably makes its case.

The distinguished jurist stands tall as a role model.

Not literally tall, of course—not only was she actually tiny but, as with all the other bobbleheaded caricatures in the “Ordinary People Change the World” series, Ginsburg, sporting huge eyeglasses on an outsize head over black judicial robes even in childhood, remains a doll-like figure in all of Eliopoulos’ cartoon scenes. It’s in the frank acknowledgment of the sexism and antisemitism she resolutely overcame as she went from reading about “real female heroes” to becoming one—and also the clear statement of how she so brilliantly applied the principle of “tikkun olam” (“repairing the world”) in her career to the notion that women and men should have the same legal rights—that her stature comes clear. For all the brevity of his profile, Meltzer spares some attention for her private life, too (“This is Marty. He loved me, and he loved my brains. So I married him!”). Other judicial activists of the past and present, all identified and including the current crop of female Supreme Court justices, line up with a diversely hued and abled group of younger followers to pay tribute in final scenes. “Fight for the things you care about,” as a typically savvy final quote has it, “but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”

Quick and slick, but ably makes its case. (timeline, photos, source list, further reading) (Picture-book biography. 7-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 9, 2024

ISBN: 9780593533338

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Rocky Pond Books/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2023

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