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WILHELM'S JOURNEY

This lively, informative peek at life aboard a 19th-century emigrant sailing ship ably complements other titles on...

A German teen describes his 1872 journey to America on the sailing ship Columbia.

Growing up poor on a farm in Germany, Wilhelm attends woodcarving school, where he learns to draw, sculpt, read, and write. Hearing about free farmland in America, he eagerly joins an expedition of emigrants from neighboring villages and travels by foot and train to Bremerhaven, where he boards the Columbia and finds a bunk in steerage for the crossing to New York City, which takes over four weeks. Presented in the format of an illustrated diary, Wilhelm’s record of his experiences includes the nitty-gritty of seasickness, bedbugs, bucket lavatories, and hardtack as well as the games children play, a storm at sea, essential navigation tools, animals and birds encountered, nautical knots, and the life of the ship’s crew. This fictional account offers the immediacy and realism of a first-person narration enlivened by spontaneous-feeling, quick sketches of passengers and crew. Sidebars and appended notes expand Wilhelm’s story with fascinating historical facts pertinent to life on an emigrant ship and American immigration, including a map of the Columbia’s route and a cross-section of the ship.

This lively, informative peek at life aboard a 19th-century emigrant sailing ship ably complements other titles on immigration. (timeline, list of museums) (Historical fiction. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-7358-4352-3

Page Count: 72

Publisher: NorthSouth

Review Posted Online: May 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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ON THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...

Rabe follows a young girl through her first 12 days of kindergarten in this book based on the familiar Christmas carol.

The typical firsts of school are here: riding the bus, making friends, sliding on the playground slide, counting, sorting shapes, laughing at lunch, painting, singing, reading, running, jumping rope, and going on a field trip. While the days are given ordinal numbers, the song skips the cardinal numbers in the verses, and the rhythm is sometimes off: “On the second day of kindergarten / I thought it was so cool / making lots of friends / and riding the bus to my school!” The narrator is a white brunette who wears either a tunic or a dress each day, making her pretty easy to differentiate from her classmates, a nice mix in terms of race; two students even sport glasses. The children in the ink, paint, and collage digital spreads show a variety of emotions, but most are happy to be at school, and the surroundings will be familiar to those who have made an orientation visit to their own schools.

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of Kindergarten (2003), it basically gets the job done. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234834-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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THE BIG CHEESE

From the Food Group series

From curds to riches, from meltdown to uplift—this multicourse romp delivers.

A winning wheel of cheddar with braggadocio to match narrates a tale of comeuppance and redemption.

From humble beginnings among kitchen curds living “quiet lives of pasteurization,” the Big Cheese longs to be the best and builds success and renown based on proven skills and dependable results: “I stuck to the things I was good at.” When newcomer Wedge moves to the village of Curds-on-Whey, the Cheese’s star status wobbles and falls. Turns out that quiet, modest Wedge is also multitalented. At the annual Cheese-cathlon, Wedge bests six-time winner Cheese in every event, from the footrace and chess to hat making and bread buttering. A disappointed Cheese throws a full-blown tantrum before arriving at a moment of truth: Self-calming, conscious breathing permits deep relief that losing—even badly—does not result in disaster. A debrief with Wedge “that wasn’t all about me” leads to further realizations: Losing builds empathy for others; obsession with winning obscures “the joy of participating.” The chastened cheddar learns to reserve bragging for lifting up friends, because anyone can be the Big Cheese. More didactic and less pun-rich than previous entries in the Food Group series, this outing nevertheless couples a cheerful refrain with pithy life lessons that hit home. Oswald’s detailed, comical illustrations continue to provide laughs, including a spot with Cheese onstage doing a “CHED” talk.

From curds to riches, from meltdown to uplift—this multicourse romp delivers. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2023

ISBN: 9780063329508

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2023

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