TERRIBLE STORM

Remember the blizzard of 1888? Probably not, but the narrator’s two grandpas sure do. Depending on whether you ask Grandpa Walt, who loves to be around people, or Grandpa Fred, who’s a bit shy, they’ll both tell you it was the worst storm ever, but each for a different reason. When the unexpected storm hit, Grandpa Walt was chopping firewood and Grandpa Fred was delivering milk. The snow was so deep they had to take cover. Sociable Walt found refuge in a barn, stuck for three days with only a horse, chickens and cats. Shy Fred got trapped for three days in the White Horse Inn full of people. As they reminisce, the watercolor-and-ink illustrations add humorous nuances with historical details and personality traits. Clever formatting of the text places one line between two panels, above for Walt and below for Fred, juxtaposing each one’s “survival.” Kids may need to flip pages to keep the grandpas straight (a beard is key), but that won’t detract from the fun. The author’s note cites that the story is based on her own grandfathers’ experiences. Great for sharing and storytelling. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2007

ISBN: 0-06-009001-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2006

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BECAUSE YOUR DADDY LOVES YOU

Give this child’s-eye view of a day at the beach with an attentive father high marks for coziness: “When your ball blows across the sand and into the ocean and starts to drift away, your daddy could say, Didn’t I tell you not to play too close to the waves? But he doesn’t. He wades out into the cold water. And he brings your ball back to the beach and plays roll and catch with you.” Alley depicts a moppet and her relaxed-looking dad (to all appearances a single parent) in informally drawn beach and domestic settings: playing together, snuggling up on the sofa and finally hugging each other goodnight. The third-person voice is a bit distancing, but it makes the togetherness less treacly, and Dad’s mix of love and competence is less insulting, to parents and children both, than Douglas Wood’s What Dads Can’t Do (2000), illus by Doug Cushman. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 23, 2005

ISBN: 0-618-00361-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2005

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A life devoted to freedom and dignity, worthy of praise and remembrance.

MUMBET'S DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE

With the words of Massachusetts colonial rebels ringing in her ears, a slave determines to win her freedom.

In 1780, Mumbet heard the words of the new Massachusetts constitution, including its declaration of freedom and equality. With the help of a young lawyer, she went to court and the following year, won her freedom, becoming Elizabeth Freeman. Slavery was declared illegal and subsequently outlawed in the state. Woelfle writes with fervor as she describes Mumbet’s life in the household of John Ashley, a rich landowner and businessman who hosted protest meetings against British taxation. His wife was abrasive and abusive, striking out with a coal shovel at a young girl, possibly Mumbet’s daughter. Mumbet deflected the blow and regarded the wound as “her badge of bravery.” Ironically, the lawyer who took her case, Theodore Sedgwick, had attended John Ashley’s meetings. Delinois’ full-bleed paintings are heroic in scale, richly textured and vibrant. Typography becomes part of the page design as the font increases when the text mentions freedom. Another slave in the Ashley household was named in the court case, but Woelfle, keeping her young audience in mind, keeps it simple, wisely focusing on Mumbet.

A life devoted to freedom and dignity, worthy of praise and remembrance. (author’s note, selected bibliography, further reading) (Picture book/biography. 5-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7613-6589-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Carolrhoda

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2013

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