DUST DEVIL

Isaacs and Zelinsky tell an even taller tale about Angelica Longrider, the outsized heroine of their hilarious, Caldecott Honor–winning Swamp Angel. Having outgrown Tennessee, Angel moves to roomy Montana, where she faces a wild dust-devil horse and a bandit named Backward Bart, born so ugly that his mother rolled him around backwards in his stroller. He walked, spoke and robbed backward ever since. Bart’s garbled threats remain funny even after several readings. “Cash your gimme!” just doesn’t get old. Side-splitting similes abound as well; Bart’s nefarious cronies are “pricklier than porcupines in a cactus patch.” Singsongy, colloquial narration guides readers from predicament to outlandish predicament with humor and folksy charm. Angel’s antics, pictured in oval and rectangular panels and surrounded by rippling wood grains, neatly explain the topography of the West in traditional folk-story fashion (wrestling the bucking bronco, Angel’s feet drag across the ground, creating the Grand Canyon). Zelinsky’s rustic oil illustrations offer a gallery of comic faces, frozen in exaggerated surprise, shock and frustration. Artfully crude, comedic artwork, friendly, understated narration and a wildly hyperbolic story combine to create a new classic. (Picture book. 4-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-375-86722-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2010

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A life devoted to freedom and dignity, worthy of praise and remembrance.

MUMBET'S DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE

With the words of Massachusetts colonial rebels ringing in her ears, a slave determines to win her freedom.

In 1780, Mumbet heard the words of the new Massachusetts constitution, including its declaration of freedom and equality. With the help of a young lawyer, she went to court and the following year, won her freedom, becoming Elizabeth Freeman. Slavery was declared illegal and subsequently outlawed in the state. Woelfle writes with fervor as she describes Mumbet’s life in the household of John Ashley, a rich landowner and businessman who hosted protest meetings against British taxation. His wife was abrasive and abusive, striking out with a coal shovel at a young girl, possibly Mumbet’s daughter. Mumbet deflected the blow and regarded the wound as “her badge of bravery.” Ironically, the lawyer who took her case, Theodore Sedgwick, had attended John Ashley’s meetings. Delinois’ full-bleed paintings are heroic in scale, richly textured and vibrant. Typography becomes part of the page design as the font increases when the text mentions freedom. Another slave in the Ashley household was named in the court case, but Woelfle, keeping her young audience in mind, keeps it simple, wisely focusing on Mumbet.

A life devoted to freedom and dignity, worthy of praise and remembrance. (author’s note, selected bibliography, further reading) (Picture book/biography. 5-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7613-6589-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Carolrhoda

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2013

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THE STONE OF FIRE

From the Cavemice series , Vol. 1

Warp back in time for a prehistoric spinoff adventure with Geronimo Stilton’s ancestor, Geronimo Stiltonoot, in Old Mouse City.

Readers will find Geronimo Stiltonoot a familiar character, outfitted differently from descendant Stilton yet still running a newspaper and having wild adventures. In this introduction to prehistoric mouse life, someone has stolen the most powerful and important artifact housed by the Old Mouse City Mouseum: the Stone of Fire. It’s up to Stiltonoot and his fellow sleuth and friend, Hercule Poirat, to uncover not only the theft, but a dangerous plot that jeopardizes all of Old Mouse City. As stand-ins for the rest of the Stilton cast, Stiltonoot has in common with Stilton a cousin named Trap, a sister named Thea and a nephew named Benjamin. The slapstick comedy and design, busy with type changes and color, will be familiar for Stilton readers. The world is fictionalized for comedic effect, featuring funny uses for dinosaurs and cheeky references to how far back in time they are, with only the occasional sidebar that presents facts. The story takes a bit long to get started, spending a lot of time reiterating the worldbuilding information laid out before the first chapter. But once it does start, it is an adventure Stilton readers will enjoy. Geronimo Stiltonoot has the right combination of familiarity and newness to satisfy Stilton fans. (Fiction. 6-10)

 

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-545-44774-4

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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