Generosity, princesses, volcanoes, deities—maybe there’s too much packed into this story.

READ REVIEW

A TRUE PRINCESS OF HAWAI‘I

History mixes with folklore in this story of the Mauna Loa volcano.

In July 1881, Princess Luka traveled to Hilo to reverse the flow of lava from the volcano, an event that provides the foundation for this tale. Little Nani, who wants to be a princess herself, is excited about meeting a real princess. On the way to the harbor, Nani has a strange encounter with an older woman in a white sleeveless dress and lei of reddish flowers, more traditionally attired than the townspeople in their Western clothing. When the old woman asks for something to eat, Nani shares her candy. Nani also provides candy for the balky horse that pulls the wagon that will convey the unusually tall Princess Luka to the volcano, and she supplies a piece of red fabric torn from her petticoat needed by the princess to “appease Pele,” goddess of the volcano. Luka is successful, the lava is stopped, and Nani has yet another meeting with an unknown woman, this time a younger version of the woman in the white dress: it is Pele. The detailed watercolors are sometimes a little stiff and clumsy but give a good sense of 19th-century Hawaii. The story is a little more problematic, with its interjection of folklore and the personification of Pele. Information about volcanoes and Princess Luka is appended.

Generosity, princesses, volcanoes, deities—maybe there’s too much packed into this story. (bibliography) (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 10, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62855-948-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Arbordale

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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Rappaport makes this long struggle palpable and relevant, while Faulkner adds a winning mix of gravitas and high spirits.

ELIZABETH STARTED ALL THE TROUBLE

Rappaport examines the salient successes and raw setbacks along the 144-year-long road between the nation’s birth and women’s suffrage.

This lively yet forthright narrative pivots on a reality that should startle modern kids: women’s right to vote was only achieved in 1920, 72 years after Elizabeth Cady Stanton organized the first Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, New York. Indeed, time’s passage figures as a textual motif, connecting across decades such determined women as Stanton, Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, and Lucy Stone. They spoke tirelessly, marched, organized, and got arrested. Rappaport includes events such as 1913’s Women’s Suffrage Parade in Washington, D.C., but doesn’t shy from divisive periods like the Civil War. Faulkner’s meticulously researched gouache-and-ink illustrations often infuse scenes with humor by playing with size and perspective. As Stanton and Lucretia Mott sail into London in 1840 for the World Anti-Slavery Conference, Faulkner depicts the two women as giants on the ship’s upper deck. On the opposite page, as they learn they’ll be barred as delegates, they’re painted in miniature, dwarfed yet unflappable beneath a gallery full of disapproving men. A final double-page spread mingles such modern stars as Shirley Chisholm and Sonia Sotomayor amid the historical leaders.

Rappaport makes this long struggle palpable and relevant, while Faulkner adds a winning mix of gravitas and high spirits. (biographical thumbnails, chronology, sources, websites, further reading, author’s note) (Picture book/biography. 6-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7868-5142-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2015

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The runt of the litter of print titles and websites covering the topic.

PRESIDENT ADAMS' ALLIGATOR

This tally of presidential pets reads like a school report (for all that the author is a journalist for Fox Business Network) and isn’t helped by its suite of amateurish illustrations.

Barnes frames the story with a teacher talking to her class and closes it with quizzes and a write-on “ballot.” Presidents from Washington to Obama—each paired to mentions of birds, dogs, livestock, wild animals and other White House co-residents—parade past in a rough, usually undated mix of chronological order and topical groupings. The text is laid out in monotonous blocks over thinly colored scenes that pose awkwardly rendered figures against White House floors or green lawns. In evident recognition that the presidents might be hard to tell apart, on some (but not enough) pages they carry identifying banners. The animals aren’t so differentiated; an unnamed goat that William Henry Harrison is pulling along with his cow Sukey in one picture looks a lot like one that belonged to Benjamin Harrison, and in some collective views, it’s hard to tell which animals go with which first family.

The runt of the litter of print titles and websites covering the topic. (bibliography, notes for adult readers) (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 18, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-62157-035-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Patriot Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 31, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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