Another immigrant gets the job done.

"SMELLY" KELLY AND HIS SUPER SENSES

HOW JAMES KELLY’S NOSE SAVED THE NEW YORK CITY SUBWAY

A tribute to the New York City subway’s first official “leak detective.”

Gifted with a literal nose for trouble, James Kelly arrived in New York from Ireland “with nothing but a suitcase and a keen sense of smell”—and leveraged the latter into a long career over the first half of the 20th century sniffing out dangerous gas, water, steam, and other leaks in the subway system and elsewhere. Along the way he solved mysteries (“the most nauseating, nose-scrunching stench ever to hit the subway,” detected at the 42nd Street station, turned out to be caused by a buried deposit of circus-elephant dung beneath the site of the old Hippodrome) and averted several potential disasters. Anderson casts him in a heroic mold, as he had not only a special ability, but the inner motivation to use it in service to public safety: “With such an honor came great responsibility.” (Shades of Spider-Man.) Depicted with a confident smile and a mop of bright orange hair, Kelly shines as he goes after suggestive twists and curls of miasmic yellowish green in the illustrations’ succession of antique-looking street scenes and cross-sectional views of underground pipes and tunnels. Harney tucks a dark-skinned couple into a line of subway riders, but otherwise human figures present White throughout. In a set of endnotes the author adds a portrait photo, describes some of the specialized gear that Kelly invented, and closes with leads to more information about New York’s underground. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at 77 % of actual size.)

Another immigrant gets the job done. (source notes, bibliography.) (Picture book/biography. 7-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68437-399-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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A blast from the past, sure to transport fans of all things big and loud.

JUMBO

In a properly lap- and eye-filling format (it has a 2-foot wingspan), a soaring tribute to the “Queen of the Skies.”

Following Go for the Moon (2019), Gall pays homage to another outsize triumph of engineering wizardry and industrial might. A mammoth machine two and a half times larger than any other jet liner of its time, Boeing’s 747 is so big, he claims, that the Wright brothers could have made their entire first flight in its fuselage without leaving the coach section. It debuted in 1968 and, though now retired from domestic use, is still the fastest commercial passenger plane in the world. Drawn with Gall’s customary clean precision, a mix of dramatically angled full-body portraits, glimpses of workers in a gigantic assembly plant, cutaway views of cockpit and spacious seating areas, detailed sectional diagrams of wings and engines, and flocks of smaller aircraft from a paper plane to a suddenly dinky-seeming 737 combine to underscore the scope of the technological achievement as well as both the sheer scale of the jet and of the effort that went into building it. There is also a dream-come-true element, as a red-haired, pale-skinned child frequenting the pictures through each stage of the leviathan’s design and assembly makes a final appearance in the pilot’s seat and turns out to be Lynn Rippelmeyer, the first woman to captain a 747. Clad in late-20th-century attire, the small human figures clustering throughout add a sense of period but are nearly all White.

A blast from the past, sure to transport fans of all things big and loud. (glossary, source list, “fun facts,” afterword) (Informational picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-15580-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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Despite choruses praising Ride’s persistence, her life is inexplicably portrayed as lacking struggle.

SALLY RIDE

From the She Persisted series

Sally Ride: from tennis-playing schoolgirl through astronaut and educator to entrepreneur.

Sally Ride stars in this entry to the chapter-book series spun off from Chelsea Clinton and Alexandra Boiger’s picture book She Persisted (2017). Long before she becomes the first woman to go to space, Sally is an athlete, a White girl born in California in 1951. She’s a tennis whiz but an inconsistent scholar, attending a prestigious private school on an athletic scholarship. Though the narrative a little ostentatiously tells readers that “Sally persisted,” the youth presented here—a child who rolls her eyes at boring teachers, a college student who drops out to play tennis, an excellent tennis player who “just did not enjoy” the effort of becoming a professional—shows the opposite. Sexism is alluded to, but no barriers are portrayed as blocking young Sally herself. Though her amazing achievements aren’t downplayed, the groundbreaking Sally Ride, in this telling, becomes simply someone who applied for a job and excelled once she liked what she was doing. Sally’s partner, Tam O’Shaughnessy, is mentioned as such, but the text avoids using any pronouns for O’Shaughnessy, which, along with her gender-neutral name, may leave many young readers ignorant that Ride silently broke sexuality barriers as well.

Despite choruses praising Ride’s persistence, her life is inexplicably portrayed as lacking struggle. (reading list, websites) (Biography. 7-9)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-11592-3

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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