Solid if incomplete.

READ REVIEW

UNSTOPPABLE

HOW JIM THORPE AND THE CARLISLE INDIAN SCHOOL DEFEATED THE ARMY

From the Encounter: Narrative Nonfiction Picture Books series

The story of a wounded child who found refuge in sports.

As a child growing up in Indian Territory, Jim Thorpe (Sac and Fox) was taken from his family to Haskell Institute, a boarding school where Native children were forced into a white assimilation education system. After running away from Haskell several times, Jim was sent at 16 to the Carlisle Industrial School, where his father hoped he would learn a trade. Coulson’s straightforward account informs readers that it was at Carlisle where Jim turned his talent for running to track, encouraged by coach Glenn “Pop” Warner. Though Jim was small for his age, he excelled in baseball, lacrosse, and hockey—and his ability to dodge bigger players landed him on Carlisle’s varsity football team. The twin highlights of his career were making it to the 1912 Olympics, where he won several gold medals, and leading Carlisle to defeat the champion Army team. Hardcastle’s fine-lined ink-and-watercolor illustrations project an appropriately bygone air, depicting Thorpe in motion more often than not. Though the book is a welcome celebration of this Native American sports hero, the text skates over the impacts of forced cultural assimilation and separation from his family on Jim. Coulson (Cherokee) does mention a more personal family history in the backmatter, as well as the stripping of Thorpe’s Olympic medals (and their posthumous restoration), but his failure to integrate it into the story keeps readers from appreciating Jim’s victories in their full scope.

Solid if incomplete. (glossary, further reading, notes) (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5435-0406-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Capstone Young Readers

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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A galloping marvel—enlightening and entertaining.

DR. SEUSS'S HORSE MUSEUM

A succinct introduction to art history via a Seussian museum of equine art.

This posthumously published text recently discovered in Ted Geisel’s studio uses horse-focused art pieces to provide historical context to artistic movements. Showing art ranging from the Lascaux cave paintings to an untitled 1994 sculpture by Deborah Butterfield, Joyner’s playful illustrations surround the curated photographs of art pieces. By using horses as the departing point in the artistic journey, Seuss and Joyner are able to introduce diverse perspectives, artifacts, and media, including Harnessed Horse from the northern Wei dynasty, a Navajo pictorial blanket titled Oh, My Beautiful Horses, and photographs by Eadweard Muybridge. Questions to readers prompt thought about the artistic concepts introduced, aided by a cast of diverse museumgoers who demonstrate the art terms in action. Joyner further engages readers by illustrating both general cultural and Seussian references. Glimpses of the Cat in the Hat are seen throughout the book; he poses as a silent observer, genially guarding Seuss’ legacy. For art enthusiasts, some illustrations become an inside joke, as references to artists such as Alexander Calder, Salvador Dalí, Marina Abramovic, and René Magritte make appearances. Thorough backmatter contains notes on each art piece referenced along with a study of the manuscript’s history and Seuss’ artistic style. Absent, probably unsurprisingly, is any acknowledgment of the Cat’s antecedents in minstrelsy and Seuss’ other racist work, but prominent among the museumgoers are black- and Asian-presenting characters as well as a girl wearing hijab and a child who uses a wheelchair.

A galloping marvel—enlightening and entertaining. (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-399-55912-9

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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A solid introduction to fascinating artists, some familiar, others less so.

WOMEN ARTISTS A TO Z

Contemporary and historical female artists are showcased for younger readers.

The artists’ names aren’t presented in A-to-Z order. The alphabetical arrangement actually identifies signature motifs (“D is for Dots” for Yayoi Kusama); preferred media (“I is for Ink” for Elizabeth Catlett); or cultural, natural, or personal motives underlying artworks (“N is for Nature” for Maya Lin). Various media are covered, such as painting, box assemblage, collage, photography, pottery, and sculpture. One artist named isn’t an individual but rather the Gee’s Bend Collective, “generations of African American women in Gee’s Bend, Alabama,” renowned for quilting artistry. Each artist and her or their work is introduced on a double-page spread that features succinct descriptions conveying much admiring, easily comprehensible information. Colorful illustrations include graphically simplified representations of the women at work or alongside examples of their art; the spreads provide ample space for readers to understand what the artists produced. Several women were alive when this volume was written; some died in the recent past or last century; two worked several hundred years ago, when female artists were rare. Commendably, the profiled artists are very diverse: African American, Latina, Native American, Asian, white, and multiethnic women are represented; this diversity is reflected in their work, as explained via texts and illustrations.

A solid introduction to fascinating artists, some familiar, others less so. (minibiographies, discussion questions, art suggestions) (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-10872-7

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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