Sweet.

READ REVIEW

THE BOY WHO INVENTED THE POPSICLE

THE COOL SCIENCE BEHIND FRANK EPPERSON'S FAMOUS FROZEN TREAT

Boxing is known as the sweet science, but the inventor of the Popsicle, might disagree.

Born in 1894, Frank William Epperson always seemed to know he wanted to be a great inventor when he grew up. He was an inquisitive young boy, always pondering big questions: “Do goldfish sleep? Do ants have ears? Do woodpeckers get headaches from pecking all day?” Frank’s back porch was his laboratory, where he “tinkered and tested. Analyzed and scrutinized.” When he was 10, he built a handcar with two handles and zipped around the neighborhood. But it was his interest in liquids, flavored soda waters in particular, that led to his great invention. One unusually cold San Francisco night in 1905, he left one of his drinks outside, and by morning it had frozen. “He had invented a frozen drink on a stick!” But it wasn’t until years later that the adult Epperson acted on the memory. He created a box in which he could freeze several test tubes filled with fruit juice and created the Ep-sicle to sell at shops, county fairs, and beaches. Pavlović’s exuberant mixed-media illustrations are the perfect complement to Renaud’s lively text. They even intersperse science experiments to help young readers understand the science behind Frank’s procedures. Epperson, his family, and his environs were white; the final double-page spread offers a diverse cast of characters united in their love of Epperson’s invention, now called Popsicles.

Sweet. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5253-0028-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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Self-serving to be sure but also chock-full of worthy values and sentiments.

SUPERHEROES ARE EVERYWHERE

The junior senator from California introduces family and friends as everyday superheroes.

The endpapers are covered with cascades of, mostly, early childhood snapshots (“This is me contemplating the future”—caregivers of toddlers will recognize that abstracted look). In between, Harris introduces heroes in her life who have shaped her character: her mom and dad, whose superpowers were, respectively, to make her feel special and brave; an older neighbor known for her kindness; grandparents in India and Jamaica who “[stood] up for what’s right” (albeit in unspecified ways); other relatives and a teacher who opened her awareness to a wider world; and finally iconic figures such as Thurgood Marshall and Constance Baker Motley who “protected people by using the power of words and ideas” and whose examples inspired her to become a lawyer. “Heroes are…YOU!” she concludes, closing with a bulleted Hero Code and a timeline of her legal and political career that ends with her 2017 swearing-in as senator. In group scenes, some of the figures in the bright, simplistic digital illustrations have Asian features, some are in wheelchairs, nearly all are people of color. Almost all are smiling or grinning. Roe provides everyone identified as a role model with a cape and poses the author, who is seen at different ages wearing an identifying heart pin or decoration, next to each.

Self-serving to be sure but also chock-full of worthy values and sentiments. (Picture book/memoir. 5-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-984837-49-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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A sanitized version of a too-short life.

I AM ANNE FRANK

From the Ordinary People Change the World series

A bobblehead avatar of the teenage writer and symbol of the Holocaust presents her life as an inspiration.

From a big-eared babyhood and a childhood spent “writing stories” to fleeing Germany for Amsterdam, Anne’s pre-Annex life is sketched. Narrating in the first person, the cartoon Anne explains that Nazis “didn’t like those of us who were Jewish or other groups who were different from them.” Hitler is presented as a leader “who blamed the Jews for all of Germany’s problems, even though we hadn’t done anything wrong.” Then in short order Anne receives her diary as a birthday present, the family goes into hiding, and Anne finds solace in the attic looking at the chestnut tree and writing. Effectively, Annex scenes are squeezed between broad black borders. Illustrations present four snippets of quotes from her diary, including “I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart.” Narrator Anne says, “You can always find light in the darkest places. That’s what hope is,” as she clutches the diary with Shabbat candles on one side and a menorah burning brightly on the other. In the next double-page spread, an international array of modern-day visitors standing outside the Anne Frank House briefly, in speech bubbles, wraps up the story of the Holocaust, the diary, the Annex, and the chestnut tree. Anne’s wretched death in a concentration camp is mentioned only in a concluding timeline. I Am Benjamin Franklin publishes simultaneously. (This book was reviewed digitally with 7.5-by-15-inch double-page spreads viewed at actual size.)

A sanitized version of a too-short life. (photos, sources, further reading) (Picture book/biography. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-55594-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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