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ME AND THE SKY

CAPTAIN BEVERLEY BASS, PIONEERING PILOT

Inspiring and up, up, and away all the way.

For Beverley Bass, the sky had no limits.

Bass always dreamed of taking to the skies. In her teens, she took flying lessons and earned her license. Her flights of fancy transcended recreational soaring, though: She yearned to be an airline pilot—when only men had that job. Undeterred, Bass continued training, earned more licenses, and took jobs male pilots turned down or left when better ones arose. Thanks to intelligence, determination, and skill, she developed solid experience and established an enviable reputation. Bass’ big breaks came when American Airlines hired her as a flight engineer, then promoted her to co-pilot. Her lifelong aspiration became a reality when she became the first woman ever to captain an American Airlines commercial airliner. More history-making achievements followed. Then came 9/11. Flying from Paris to Dallas, Bass’ jet was directed to Gander, Newfoundland, along with 37 other carriers, when U.S. airspace was closed after the twin towers fell. This is a soaring tale, told with verve by Bass herself together with Williams. The retro, cartoonish illustrations might seem at odds with the recent setting, but they succeed with this narrative, as they also evoke spirited enthusiasm. The artwork, starring a smiling, plucky white, blonde Bass, embraces people of color as well as of various ages, including among airline professionals; readers will notice graying and gray-haired individuals.

Inspiring and up, up, and away all the way. (biographical note) (Picture book/biography. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-64549-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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FRIDA KAHLO AND HER ANIMALITOS

A supplemental rather than introductory book on the great artist.

Frida Kahlo’s strong affection for and identification with animals form the lens through which readers view her life and work in this picture-book biography.

Each two-page spread introduces one or more of her pets, comparing her characteristics to theirs and adding biographical details. Confusingly for young readers, the beginning pages reference pets she owned as an adult, yet the illustrations and events referred to come from earlier in her life. Bonito the parrot perches in a tree overlooking young Frida and her family in her childhood home and pops up again later, just before the first mention of Diego Rivera. Granizo, the fawn, another pet from her adult years, is pictured beside a young Frida and her father along with a description of “her life as a little girl.” The author’s note adds important details about Kahlo’s life and her significance as an artist, as well as recommending specific paintings that feature her beloved animals. Expressive acrylic paintings expertly evoke Kahlo’s style and color palette. While young animal lovers will identify with her attachment to her pets and may enjoy learning about the Aztec origins of her Xolo dogs and the meaning of turkeys in ancient Mexico, the book may be of most interest to those who already have an interest in Kahlo’s life.

A supplemental rather than introductory book on the great artist. (Picture book/biography. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7358-4269-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: NorthSouth

Review Posted Online: June 18, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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BASKETBALL DREAMS

Blandly inspirational fare made to evoke equally shrink-wrapped responses.

An NBA star pays tribute to the influence of his grandfather.

In the same vein as his Long Shot (2009), illustrated by Frank Morrison, this latest from Paul prioritizes values and character: “My granddad Papa Chilly had dreams that came true,” he writes, “so maybe if I listen and watch him, / mine will too.” So it is that the wide-eyed Black child in the simply drawn illustrations rises early to get to the playground hoops before anyone else, watches his elder working hard and respecting others, hears him cheering along with the rest of the family from the stands during games, and recalls in a prose afterword that his grandfather wasn’t one to lecture but taught by example. Paul mentions in both the text and the backmatter that Papa Chilly was the first African American to own a service station in North Carolina (his presumed dream) but not that he was killed in a robbery, which has the effect of keeping the overall tone positive and the instructional content one-dimensional. Figures in the pictures are mostly dark-skinned. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Blandly inspirational fare made to evoke equally shrink-wrapped responses. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-250-81003-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2022

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