A harmonious picture book whose poetic text and delicate illustrations befit its subject.

BEAUTIFUL USEFUL THINGS

WHAT WILLIAM MORRIS MADE

The story of Victorian artist and creator William Morris.

As Kephart explains, the “writer, scholar, artist, activist, bookman” dedicated his life to honoring and creating beautiful things. Living in an era when the advent of mass manufacturing was beginning to severely damage the environment, Morris sought to preserve the art of making hand-crafted objects. Drawing inspiration from nature, travel, and the past, he carved out a place in history, and his influence persists today. Kephart’s text is leisurely, encouraging readers to fully take in every stanza and lovely illustration. Rich vocabulary, lyricism, and careful word choices enhance and deepen meaning. Stacey’s incredible soft-edged illustrations are reminiscent of Morris’ style: full of movement, imagination, and detail. One double-page spread uses a bird’s-eye perspective, drawing the eye downward past birds perched in a tree and hovering insects to young Morris below. Another shows a story springing to life from the pages of an open book. The nature elements that appear as motifs throughout the artwork, coupled with detailed close-ups of the processes of whittling, sewing, and bookbinding, reveal just how much Morris’ art was connected to his appreciation of the beauty of the natural world. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A harmonious picture book whose poetic text and delicate illustrations befit its subject. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 5, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-951836-33-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Cameron + Company

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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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

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Sage, soothing ideas for a busy, loud, sometimes-divisive world.

GRANDMA'S GARDENS

In an inviting picture book, Chelsea and Hillary Clinton share personal revelations on how gardening with a grandmother, a mother, and children shapes and nurtures a love and respect for nature, beauty, and a general philosophy for life.

Grandma Dorothy, the former senator, secretary of state, and presidential candidate’s mother, loved gardens, appreciating the multiple benefits they yielded for herself and her family. The Clinton women reminisce about their beloved forebear and all she taught them in a color-coded, alternating text, blue for Chelsea and green for Hillary. Via brief yet explicit remembrances, they share what they learned, observed, and most of all enjoyed in gardens with her. Each double-page spread culminates in a declarative statement set in italicized red text invoking Dorothy’s wise words. Gardens can be many things: places for celebration, discovery and learning, vehicles for teaching responsibility in creating beauty, home to wildlife large and small, a place to share stories and develop memories. Though operating from very personal experience rooted in class privilege, the mother-daughter duo mostly succeeds in imparting a universally significant message: Whether visiting a public garden or working in the backyard, generations can cultivate a lasting bond. Lemniscates uses an appropriately floral palette to evoke the gardens explored by these three white women. A Spanish edition, Los jardines de la abuela, publishes simultaneously; Teresa Mlawer’s translation is fluid and pleasing, in at least one case improving on the original.

Sage, soothing ideas for a busy, loud, sometimes-divisive world. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 31, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-11535-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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