A bright salutation of a story, with one determined woman at its center.

GIRL RUNNING

Pimentel tenders the story of Bobbi Gibb, the first woman to (surreptitiously) run the classic Boston Marathon, with illustrations that pay close attention to the route along the way.

Hot on the heels of Kristina Yee and Frances Poletti’s The Girl Who Ran, illustrated by Susanna Chapman (2017), is another rendering of Gibb’s saga. This time the story pivots less around Gibb’s trick to evade the officials than the sheer joy of running—it is as though Gibb is on one long runner’s high, and it’s good fun to run along with her. Readers learn that Gibb trained in nurse’s shoes, making “her feet feel weightless” when she bought proper running shoes (boys’ size six, as there are none for “girls”). Once she was in the race and doffed her sweatshirt to avoid heat exhaustion, she was cheered on by all but the most curmudgeonly marathon watchers. Archer provides the landscape through which the blonde white woman trains and then the marathon path itself. Her artwork is an eyeful, a deep-dish mixture of oil paint and collage with tissue paper and hand-stamped patterned papers as materials. In addition, she adds mile markers and elevation notes to convey the runners’ toils and why it is called “Heartbreak Hill.” The tiny smattering of African-Americans engaged in the race and in the crowds is sad but true.

A bright salutation of a story, with one determined woman at its center. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-101-99668-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2017

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Lovely illustrations wasted on this misguided project.

LUNAR NEW YEAR

From the Celebrate the World series

The Celebrate the World series spotlights Lunar New Year.

This board book blends expository text and first-person-plural narrative, introducing readers to the holiday. Chau’s distinctive, finely textured watercolor paintings add depth, transitioning smoothly from a grand cityscape to the dining room table, from fantasies of the past to dumplings of the present. The text attempts to provide a broad look at the subject, including other names for the celebration, related cosmology, and historical background, as well as a more-personal discussion of traditions and practices. Yet it’s never clear who the narrator is—while the narrative indicates the existence of some consistent, monolithic group who participates in specific rituals of celebration (“Before the new year celebrations begin, we clean our homes—and ourselves!”), the illustrations depict different people in every image. Indeed, observances of Lunar New Year are as diverse as the people who celebrate it, which neither the text nor the images—all of the people appear to be Asian—fully acknowledges. Also unclear is the book’s intended audience. With large blocks of explication on every spread, it is entirely unappealing for the board-book set, and the format may make it equally unattractive to an older, more appropriate audience. Still, readers may appreciate seeing an important celebration warmly and vibrantly portrayed.

Lovely illustrations wasted on this misguided project. (Board book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 11, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3303-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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This heartwarming story of a boy and his beloved dog opens the door for further study of our 16th president.

HONEY, THE DOG WHO SAVED ABE LINCOLN

A slice of Abraham Lincoln’s childhood life is explored through a fictionalized anecdote about his dog Honey.

When 7-year-old Abe rescues a golden-brown dog with a broken leg, he takes the pup home to the Lincolns’ cabin in Knob Creek, Kentucky. Honey follows Abe everywhere, including trailing after his owner into a deep cave. When Abe gets stuck between rocks, Honey goes for help and leads a search party back to the trapped boy for a dramatic rescue. The source for this story was a book incorporating the memories of Abe’s boyhood friend, explained in an author’s note. The well-paced text includes invented dialogue attributed to Abe and his parents. Abe’s older sister, Sarah, is not mentioned in the text and is shown in the illustrations as a little girl younger than Abe. All the characters present white save for one black man in the rescue crew. An oversized format and multiple double-page spreads provide plenty of space for cartoon-style illustrations of the Lincoln cabin, the surrounding countryside, and the spooky cave where Abe was trapped. This story focuses on the incident in the cave and Abe’s rescue; a more complete look at Lincoln’s life is included in an appended timeline and the author’s note, both of which include references to Lincoln’s kindness to animals and to other pets he owned.

This heartwarming story of a boy and his beloved dog opens the door for further study of our 16th president. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-269900-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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