THEY CALLED HER MOLLY PITCHER

Rockwell (Becoming Butterflies, p. 107, etc.) retells the inspiring story of a woman named Mary (Molly) Hays, who followed her husband into battle with General George Washington at Valley Forge and then at the Battle of Monmouth on June 28, 1778. That day was brutally hot, and the wounded men would call out to Molly to bring them a pitcher of water. When Molly’s own husband was wounded, she rammed powder into the cannon and kept firing. And so the heroic legend was born. The energetic text appears to be printed on linen, and though it is in very small type for this format, it’s a pleasure to read. The illustrations, in a style echoing early American primitive art are as vibrant in color and spirit. Treated to appear old, the paintings portray the intense cold of Valley Forge and the smoky heat of the New Jersey fields. One double-paged spread gloriously depicts the confusion of hand-to-hand combat with one wounded soldier held in the arms of another á la Michelangelo’s Pietà. A sturdy and determined Molly, a heroic Washington on horseback calmly watching over his exhausted troops bedded down for the night, a painting of the battlefield, and endpapers of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution add to the patriotic and feminist mood. Fascinating history to share with young enthusiasts. (author’s note, brief timeline) (Nonfiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: May 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-679-89187-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2002

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THE FANTASTIC UNDERSEA LIFE OF JACQUES COUSTEAU

This second early biography of Cousteau in a year echoes Jennifer Berne’s Manfish: A Story of Jacques Cousteau (2008), illustrated by Eric Puybaret, in offering visuals that are more fanciful than informational, but also complements it with a focus less on the early life of the explorer and eco-activist than on his later inventions and achievements. In full-bleed scenes that are often segmented and kaleidoscopic, Yaccarino sets his hook-nosed subject amid shoals of Impressionistic fish and other marine images, rendered in multiple layers of thinly applied, imaginatively colored paint. His customarily sharp, geometric lines take on the wavy translucence of undersea shapes with a little bit of help from the airbrush. Along with tracing Cousteau’s undersea career from his first, life-changing, pair of goggles and the later aqualung to his minisub Sea Flea, the author pays tribute to his revolutionary film and TV work, and his later efforts to call attention to the effects of pollution. Cousteau’s enduring fascination with the sea comes through clearly, and can’t help sparking similar feelings in readers. (chronology, source list) (Picture book/biography. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 24, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-375-85573-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2009

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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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