A BOY, A MOUSE, AND A SPIDER

THE STORY OF E.B. WHITE

The story of how E.B. White came to write two of his three classic children’s books.

Young Elwyn White, sick in bed, befriended a mouse. Later, “on a train one night in a dream,” a “dapper” mouse dressed in a hat and carrying a cane appeared to Andy (the author’s nickname since his college days at Cornell). When Andy moved to Maine, “he filled his barn with stoic sheep, anxious hens, and gossiping geese. But he still had a mouse on his mind.” The mouse became Stuart Little. In an old boathouse, “with a mouse for company,” Andy created a story about a pig and a spider, denizens of the “high-lofted barn” he had always dreamed of. And Charlotte’s Web came to be. Herkert’s elegant prose and Castillo’s stunning brown ink–and-watercolor illustrations team up for a magnificent model of what a picture book can be. The double-page spreads are simply gorgeous: Elwyn’s nighttime neighborhood, with yellow-amber house lights under a blue sky and crescent moon; a brown-toned New York City street scene followed by the pastoral beauty of Maine; and a breathtakingly beautiful barn scene, reminiscent of Garth Williams’ original Charlotte’s Web but this one in glowing colors. Though White’s third classic, The Trumpet of the Swan, is only mentioned in the author’s note, this is some book.

A stunner—radiant even. (bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 5-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 24, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62779-245-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A larger-than-life subject is neatly captured in text and images.

THURGOOD

The life journey of the first African American to serve on the United States Supreme Court and the incidents that formed him.

Thurgood Marshall grew up in segregated Baltimore, Maryland, with a family that encouraged him to stand for justice. Despite attending poor schools, he found a way to succeed. His father instilled in him a love of the law and encouraged him to argue like a lawyer during dinner conversations. His success in college meant he could go to law school, but the University of Maryland did not accept African American students. Instead, Marshall went to historically black Howard University, where he was mentored by civil rights lawyer Charles Houston. Marshall’s first major legal case was against the law school that denied him a place, and his success brought him to the attention of the NAACP and ultimately led to his work on the groundbreaking Brown v. Board of Education, which itself led to his appointment to the Supreme Court. This lively narrative serves as an introduction to the life of one of the country’s important civil rights figures. Important facts in Marshall’s life are effectively highlighted in an almost staccato fashion. The bold watercolor-and-collage illustrations, beginning with an enticing cover, capture and enhance the strong tone set by the words.

A larger-than-life subject is neatly captured in text and images. (author’s note, photos) (Picture book/biography. 5-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6533-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

SUPERHEROES ARE EVERYWHERE

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more