A fine tribute as 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment.

THE VOICE OF LIBERTY

When unveiled in New York Harbor in 1886, the statue of a woman became the symbol of American liberty. At the time, real women had few freedoms.

Here’s the little-known fictionalized saga of three New York suffragists, fiercely determined to give Lady Liberty a “voice”—by fighting for women’s voting rights. First, they decide to attend the statue’s welcoming ceremony. No matter that women are forbidden to make speeches on the day or appear on the island where the statue stands. The suffragists—Lillie Devereux Blake; her daughter, Katherine “Katie” Devereux Blake; and Matilda Joslyn Gage—manage to commandeer a smelly cattle barge and join the naval flotilla on the Hudson River. The women chant slogans, some observers hurl insults, and the barge sails right up to the statue. The women’s efforts result in news stories and donations that fund additional suffrage campaigns. This lively account of the events should appeal to readers interested in the Statue of Liberty or women’s history. The clipped prose and vigorous efforts of the stalwart women promote fast-paced reading and dramatize some particulars of the momentous celebration. Bold, colorful, energetic illustrations capture time and place well. The suffragists are depicted as white; some characters are racially diverse. Extras include facts about these suffragists and Lady Liberty, a timeline, bibliography, author’s note, and dialogue sources.

A fine tribute as 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment. (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-941813-24-9

Page Count: 36

Publisher: South Dakota State Historical Society Press

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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A good overview of this complex, essential organ, with an energetic seasoning of silliness.

THE BRAIN IS KIND OF A BIG DEAL

An introduction to the lead guitar and vocalist for the Brainiacs—the human brain.

The brain (familiar to readers of Seluk’s “The Awkward Yeti” webcomic, which spun off the adult title Heart and Brain, 2015) looks like a dodgeball with arms and legs—pinkish, sturdy, and roundish, with a pair of square-framed spectacles bestowing an air of importance and hipness. Other organs of the body—tongue, lungs, stomach, muscle, and heart—are featured as members of the brain’s rock band (the verso of the dust jacket is a poster of the band). Seluk’s breezy, conversational prose and brightly colored, boldly outlined cartoon illustrations deliver basic information. The brain’s role in keeping the heart beating and other automatic functions, directing body movements, interpreting sights and sounds, remembering smells and tastes, and regulating sleep and hunger are all explained, prose augmented by dialogue balloons and information sidebars. Seluk points out, importantly, that feelings originate in the brain: “You can control how you react…but your feelings happen no matter what.” The parodied album covers on the front endpapers (including the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Green Day, Run DMC, Queen, Nirvana) will amuse parents—or at least grandparents—and the rear endpapers serve up band members’ clever social media and texting screenshots. Backmatter includes a glossary and further brain trivia but no resources or bibliography.

A good overview of this complex, essential organ, with an energetic seasoning of silliness. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-16700-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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A refreshing dive past some of our world’s marine wonders.

THE BIG BOOK OF THE BLUE

Denizens of the deep crowd oversized pages in this populous gallery of ocean life.

The finny and tentacled sea creatures drifting or arrowing through Zommer’s teeming watercolor seascapes are generally recognizable, and they are livened rather than distorted by the artist’s tendency to place human eyes on the same side of many faces, Picasso-like. Headers such as “Ink-teresting” or “In for the krill” likewise add a playful tone to the pithy comments on anatomical features or behavioral quirks that accompany the figures (which include, though rarely, a white human diver). The topical spreads begin with an overview of ocean families (“Some are hairy, some have scales, some have fins and some are boneless and brainless!”), go on to introduce select animals in no particular order from sea horses and dragonets to penguins and pufferfish, then close with cautionary remarks on chemical pollution and floating plastic. The author invites readers as they go to find both answers to such questions as “Why does a crab run sideways?” and also a small sardine hidden in some, but not all, of the pictures. For the latter he provides a visual key at the end, followed by a basic glossary.

A refreshing dive past some of our world’s marine wonders. (index) (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-500-65119-3

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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