Maurice’s journey teaches readers to never give up.

READ REVIEW

MAURICE AND HIS DICTIONARY

A TRUE STORY

A little bit of luck, the kindness of strangers, and a teenage boy’s perseverance drive this elegant story set during the Holocaust.

All Belgian 14-year-old Maurice Fajgenbaum wants is to become a lawyer, but the Nazi invasion makes him and his family refugees. They flee city after city, depending on a combination of their own resourcefulness and the kindness of strangers. As they make their tumultuous journey through wartime Europe before finally securing passage on a ship to a relocation camp on the island of Jamaica, they are guided by Maurice’s father’s mantra: “Solve one problem, and then the next, and then the next.” Even in hiding and in limbo, Maurice’s parents support his education, and Maurice problem-solves wave upon wave of setbacks before finally graduating from high school while still in the camp and embarking on university studies in Canada to realize his dream. While Maurice’s English dictionary does not play as central a role in the story as the title suggests, this story is still a fascinating tale of perseverance based on a true story. The sepia-toned illustrations in neat graphic panels help readers appreciate the story’s historicity, contrasting with warmly hued forays into Maurice’s imagination. Finally, the readers guide in the back of the book features photographs of the real Maurice and some substantive historical backstory.

Maurice’s journey teaches readers to never give up. (Graphic historical fiction. 8-13)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-77147-323-1

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Owlkids Books

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Dynamic and thought-provoking, this foray into the world of African fables and fairy tales is sure to entertain young...

THE GIRL WHO MARRIED A SKULL

AND OTHER AFRICAN STORIES

African tales get makeovers in this eclectic collection of fables in the form of comics.

In Nicole Chartrand’s opening story, a beautiful, vain, and “disobedient daughter” turns out to be clever and independent-minded, escaping from the monster who tricked her into marriage and turning her escape route into a business. A loving brother and sister who have run away from home outsmart cannibals and make off with their riches in Katie and Steven Shanahan’s “Demane and Demezana.” An arrogant young woman fails to impress the chief, while her humble, kind sister earns his offer of marriage, in Sloan Leong’s treatment of a tale from Zimbabwe. Some tales are familiar in form, such as an Anansi tale from Jose Pimienta, a myth called “Why Turtles Live in Water” from Jarrett Williams, and D. Shazzbana Bennett’s “Gratitude” fable, which is reminiscent of “The Lion and the Mouse.” Other stories feature Egyptian gods or science-fiction twists. Each is adapted and illustrated by a different artist, which makes for nice variety even if the different illustration styles and plots seem geared toward slightly different age groups. While the black-and-white drawings are expressive, some seem more like sketches than finished work, and regrettably, one, Mary Cagle’s “The Lion’s Whiskers,” lacks an African aesthetic. Despite these inconsistencies, the collection feels balanced and diverse. Thumbnail bios of each contributor follow along with a few concept drawings.

Dynamic and thought-provoking, this foray into the world of African fables and fairy tales is sure to entertain young readers who welcome both strong messages and open-ended myths. (Graphic folktales. 9-13)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-945820-24-3

Page Count: 209

Publisher: Iron Circus Comics

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Overall, the stories are engaging and inspiring, from the tribulations that came upon Emancipation to the strange new world...

ON AN AMERICAN DAY

VOL. 1: STORY VOYAGES THROUGH HISTORY 1750-1899

From the On a Day Story Voyages series , Vol. 3

Brief fictional sketches walk readers through 150 years of American history.

Arato takes nine powerful slices of American history—such as Valley Forge, the Second Battle of Bull Run, the Gold Rush, the founding of the Perkins School for the Blind and Berea College, Hull House, the Johnstown Flood—and wraps them in neat, emotive, unvarnished stories that feature a day in the life of a child caught up in the action. Shannon introduces each segment with an atmospheric illustration, Disney-like scene-setters that function as launching pads for the affecting tales. One may be as plain as the miseries of war—“The Union army regrouped at Bull Run under a pall of defeat so thick, it seemed to suck the air from the sky”—while another may take a more psychological air, as one boy hides a gold nugget so his father can’t gamble it away. Only rarely does the author let the sheer fervor of the story lead her onto shaky ground: Did the Oneida Nation really consider the Revolutionary War as “our cause,” or as a strategic alliance? (She clarifies in a fact-based endnote—one accompanies each chapter—that the Oneidas were ultimately given the raw end of the stick, their treaty lands diminished from 6 million acres to 32 acres.)

Overall, the stories are engaging and inspiring, from the tribulations that came upon Emancipation to the strange new world opened to Chinese workers recruited for the Transcontinental Railroad to the pure brilliance of a school for the blind. (Historical fiction. 9-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-926818-91-7

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Owlkids Books

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more