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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Energetic enough to carry younger rocketeers off the launch pad if not into a very high orbit.

PROFESSOR ASTRO CAT'S SPACE ROCKETS

From the Professor Astro Cat series

The bubble-helmeted feline explains what rockets do and the role they have played in sending people (and animals) into space.

Addressing a somewhat younger audience than in previous outings (Professor Astro Cat’s Frontiers of Space, 2013, etc.), Astro Cat dispenses with all but a light shower of “factoroids” to describe how rockets work. A highly selective “History of Space Travel” follows—beginning with a crew of fruit flies sent aloft in 1947, later the dog Laika (her dismal fate left unmentioned), and the human Yuri Gagarin. Then it’s on to Apollo 11 in 1969; the space shuttles Discovery, Columbia, and Challenger (the fates of the latter two likewise elided); the promise of NASA’s next-gen Orion and the Space Launch System; and finally vague closing references to other rockets in the works for local tourism and, eventually, interstellar travel. In the illustrations the spacesuited professor, joined by a mouse and cat in similar dress, do little except float in space and point at things. Still, the art has a stylish retro look, and portraits of Sally Ride and Guion Bluford diversify an otherwise all-white, all-male astronaut corps posing heroically or riding blocky, geometric spacecraft across starry reaches.

Energetic enough to carry younger rocketeers off the launch pad if not into a very high orbit. (glossary) (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-911171-55-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Flying Eye Books

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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Blandly laudatory.

I AM WALT DISNEY

From the Ordinary People Change the World series

The iconic animator introduces young readers to each “happy place” in his life.

The tally begins with his childhood home in Marceline, Missouri, and climaxes with Disneyland (carefully designed to be “the happiest place on Earth”), but the account really centers on finding his true happy place, not on a map but in drawing. In sketching out his early flubs and later rocket to the top, the fictive narrator gives Ub Iwerks and other Disney studio workers a nod (leaving his labor disputes with them unmentioned) and squeezes in quick references to his animated films, from Steamboat Willie to Winnie the Pooh (sans Fantasia and Song of the South). Eliopoulos incorporates stills from the films into his cartoon illustrations and, characteristically for this series, depicts Disney as a caricature, trademark mustache in place on outsized head even in childhood years and child sized even as an adult. Human figures default to white, with occasional people of color in crowd scenes and (ahistorically) in the animation studio. One unidentified animator builds up the role-modeling with an observation that Walt and Mickey were really the same (“Both fearless; both resourceful”). An assertion toward the end—“So when do you stop being a child? When you stop dreaming”—muddles the overall follow-your-bliss message. A timeline to the EPCOT Center’s 1982 opening offers photos of the man with select associates, rodent and otherwise. An additional series entry, I Am Marie Curie, publishes simultaneously, featuring a gowned, toddler-sized version of the groundbreaking physicist accepting her two Nobel prizes.

Blandly laudatory. (bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-7352-2875-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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