Humorous enough in both text and illustrations, but the message is muddled.

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THE TRUE STORY OF ZIPPY CHIPPY

THE LITTLE HORSE THAT COULDN'T

The true story of a racehorse that failed to win a single contest.

Thoroughbred racehorse Zippy Chippy comes from exalted bloodlines. But racehorse genes notwithstanding, Zippy is slow on the track and, the narrative implies, not terribly competitive. “Instead of running, Zippy sometimes stood perfectly still.” However, when he did (finally) finish a race, he “would prance off the course, head and tail held high.” So it’s confusing when the story then tells readers that his owner, Felix Monserrate, “felt that Zippy needed a win…to boost his morale” and tries various ways to turn Zippy into a winner. Zippy continues to race, and the quirky, pokey horse becomes a crowd favorite. At Zippy’s last race, his 100th, he takes a moment—after the starting bell—to bow to the crowd. (He finishes last.) Author Bennett’s ending salvo, “it takes guts to compete [and] courage to dream.…[Y]ou can lose…and still be a winner,” is rallying, but the body of the story doesn’t quite get there, instead placing more emphasis on Monserrate’s attempts to turn Zippy into a winner rather than validating Zippy’s quirky personality. Szalay’s full-color illustrations have a lively, angular appearance with well-thought-out perspectives and effectively utilize both full-page and double-page spreads. Monserrate is Puerto Rican, and other humans depicted are diverse.

Humorous enough in both text and illustrations, but the message is muddled. (author’s note, bibliography) (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7358-4396-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: NorthSouth

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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Effectively argues that “People are more powerful together.”

SOMETIMES PEOPLE MARCH

Simple, direct statements are paired with watercolor illustrations to highlight some of the rallying causes for organized marches throughout the history of the United States.

The text and art begin with two marches that will reemerge as metaphor later in the book: a long line of ants marching to and from a piece of watermelon, and members of a blue-and-gold–clad marching band following their leader’s baton. As the band recedes on the verso, across the gutter an extremely diverse group of people similar to the crowds marching across the book’s cover advances toward readers on recto. Here the text repeats the book’s title. Next, negative space surrounds a small group of women and children—obviously from an earlier time—holding a protest sign. The text explains that sometimes people march “to resist injustice.” The facing page shows a contemporary family gazing with chagrin at a polluted beach; they will march because they “notice a need for change.” The text continues to offer simple explanations of why people march, eventually moving to other peaceful means of resistance, including signs, boycotts, strikes, sit-ins, and “taking a knee.” Hardship in the form of physical and psychic exhaustion is mentioned, but police and other legally sanctioned violence against protest is not—the general mood is uplifting encouragement to young, potential activists. This timely book combines rudimentary facts about peaceful resistance with art that depicts organized actions from the 19th century through today, and endnotes reveal more specifics about each illustration, including historic figures represented.

Effectively argues that “People are more powerful together.” (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-299118-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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It’s a bit sketchy of historical detail, but it’s coherent, inspirational, and engaging without indulging in rapturous...

ROSA PARKS

From the Little People, BIG DREAMS series

A first introduction to the iconic civil rights activist.

“She was very little and very brave, and she always tried to do what was right.” Without many names or any dates, Kaiser traces Parks’ life and career from childhood to later fights for “fair schools, jobs, and houses for black people” as well as “voting rights, women’s rights and the rights of people in prison.” Though her refusal to change seats and the ensuing bus boycott are misleadingly presented as spontaneous acts of protest, young readers will come away with a clear picture of her worth as a role model. Though recognizable thanks to the large wire-rimmed glasses Parks sports from the outset as she marches confidently through Antelo’s stylized illustrations, she looks childlike throughout (as characteristic of this series), and her skin is unrealistically darkened to match the most common shade visible on other African-American figures. In her co-published Emmeline Pankhurst (illustrated by Ana Sanfelippo), Kaiser likewise simplistically implies that Great Britain led the way in granting universal women’s suffrage but highlights her subject’s courageous quest for justice, and Isabel Sánchez Vegara caps her profile of Audrey Hepburn (illustrated by Amaia Arrazola) with the moot but laudable claim that “helping people across the globe” (all of whom in the pictures are dark-skinned children) made Hepburn “happier than acting or dancing ever had.” All three titles end with photographs and timelines over more-detailed recaps plus at least one lead to further information.

It’s a bit sketchy of historical detail, but it’s coherent, inspirational, and engaging without indulging in rapturous flights of hyperbole. (Picture book/biography. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-78603-018-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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