An essential guide to the legacy of a well- and deservedly loved artist.



An illuminating, lavishly illustrated tribute to the works and talents of an iconic writer and illustrator, revised and updated in the wake of his death in March 2020.

Elleman adds books and illustrations published after her 1999 critical work, Tomie dePaola: His Art and His Stories, and reworks some of the original edition’s topical chapters, further buffing her already-lapidary analyses of how and why dePaola’s art works so well with the plethora of texts he illustrated and/or wrote over his long career. Playing to her strengths as an unexcelled observer and describer of picture-book art, she captures both visual and emotional ebbs and flows in dozens of works while raising critical points, such as complaints that too many of his pictures look alike, only so she can demolish them with barrages of counterexamples and well-chosen images of pages, page turns, and full spreads. Though dePaola is perhaps best known for drawing on his own background for authentic evocations of Italian and Italian American culture, Elleman commends his portrayals of diverse racial and ethnic characters in such works as his volume of Mother Goose rhymes. Sample pages of a picture book from first draft to finished layout present a revealing case study in his process, and an extended closing album of his “non-book” paintings offers convincing evidence of both his versatility and a distinctive style that shines through no matter the medium or subject. Specific biographical details are limited, but as Trina Schart Hyman writes in her introductory tribute (present in both this and the 1999 work), “the artist always draws or paints him- or herself, no matter what the subject and no matter what or how the approach.” Even devoted fans will come away knowing and liking dePaola more.

An essential guide to the legacy of a well- and deservedly loved artist. (endnotes, lists of publications and of awards, notes on art media, index) (Nonfiction. 12-adult)

Pub Date: March 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5344-1226-2

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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


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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Essential reading for all ages.

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International speaker Bridges applies lessons of history to the task before us.

The text of the book reads like a letter, addressed to “you,” the children of today. Each spread has one page of simply phrased text—a short paragraph in a large font against a white background—facing a page of one or two black-and-white photographs. The first 20 pages vividly recount Bridges’ experience as a first grader integrating an all-White school in New Orleans: the angry crowds lining her path, the federal marshals ordered to protect her, the difficult choice her parents faced, her kind teacher from Boston who spent the days alone with her in a classroom emptied of White children whose families protested integration. The words then transition to appreciation of the many children Bridges has spoken with during school visits. She shares individual encounters with hopeful and brave children who inspired her as well as general reflections on racism and generational dynamics. Finally, the text turns to the present day—the need for “love and grace for one another that will heal this world.” Pictures of 2020 protests, sometimes sharing the page with pictures from historical protests, show young people demanding change. The simple layout is powerful: The photographs present a striking reality concerning our collective past and the repetition of history. Bridges’ hopeful words, her faith born of experience, are soothing and encouraging in this time of unrest and uncertainty.

Essential reading for all ages. (Nonfiction. 6-adult)

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-37852-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2020

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