THE CAT, THE CROW, AND THE BANYAN TREE by Penelope Lively
ANIMALS
Released: April 1, 1994

"There's enough of the Saturday morning cartoon here to grab kids; those prepared to see it will find much more. (Picture book. 4-10)"
The author of The Ghost of Thomas Kempe (1973) and other fantasies for children (and also a Booker Prize winner for her adult fiction) adds to her distinguished list a picture book with a delectably sly subtext on narrative style. Read full book review >
A FORTUNE BRANCHES OUT by Margaret Mahy
Released: April 1, 1994

"A strong third in a lively and likable series. (Fiction. 8-11)"
Book 3 of The Cousins Quartet features Tessa, last seen (in A Foretaste Name, 1993) hoping cousin Lorelei's banker dad will stay married to her aunt so that Tessa can still have his financial counsel. Read full book review >

HIGGLE WIGGLE by Eve Merriam
POETRY
Released: April 1, 1994

"Nifty. (Poetry. 2-6)"
``Happy'' is the right word for these 25 deftly constructed poems about childhood pleasures: sounds, making faces (``How to Be Angry'': ``Scrunch your eyebrows/up to your hair,/pull on your chin/and glare glare glare...''), animals, weather, food, riddles, counting, day's end. Read full book review >
OREGON'S JOURNEY by Rascal
ADVENTURE
Released: April 1, 1994

"A lovely, poignant journey. (Picture book. 4-9)"
The narrator and the bear meet at a circus in Pittsburgh. ``Take me to the big forest, Duke,'' Oregon suggests, and the little clown complies. Read full book review >
CAUGHT! by Willo Davis Roberts
ADVENTURE
Released: April 1, 1994

"Still, the stark realism adds to the suspense; the story works. (Fiction. 8- 12)"
Thriller fans will welcome Roberts's latest: Once again, children face danger without adult protection. Read full book review >

THE PAINTED FAN by Marilyn Singer
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: April 1, 1994

"The Chinese-born illustrator, now a professor at Duke University, makes a fine picture-book debut with dramatically posed scenes of realistically depicted figures in impressionistic settings that effectively enhance the mood. (Picture book. 6-10)"
Set in long-ago China, a tale of a greedy lord who hopes to evade his fate and the courageous girl who brings it to pass. Read full book review >
THE TUSK FAIRY by Nicola Smee
ANIMALS
Released: April 1, 1994

"The affectionate narrative is nicely complemented by warmly humorous illustrations in which the toys are as expressive of subtle emotions as the little girl is. (Picture book. 4-8)"
Lizzie's knitted Elephant is her favorite toy, but the years have left him so much the worse for wear that she's had to dress him in the other toys' clothes just to hold him together. Read full book review >
BIG PANDA, LITTLE PANDA by Joan Stimson
ANIMALS
Released: April 1, 1994

"A good addition to a tirelessly augmented genre. (Picture book. 3-7)"
Once a new Little Panda is born, Mom begins to call the former Little Panda ``Big Panda,'' a role he gladly assumes. Read full book review >
DON'T TEASE THE GUPPIES by Pat Lowery Collins
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: March 31, 1994

"A likable story, sure to find a variety of uses. (Picture book. 4-8)"
``I'll read the signs,'' Jon assures his little brother as the two enter the aquarium, but Tim isn't deterred: he likes to ``read'' them first. Read full book review >
SKYLARK by Patricia MacLachlan
ADVENTURE
Released: March 30, 1994

"Not outstanding, but amiable; fans will rejoice, and there'll be no trouble selling the first printing of 50,000. (Fiction. 8-12)"
The eagerly awaited sequel to Sarah, Plain and Tall, which has already appeared on TV with a script by MacLachlan. Read full book review >
THE FOOL OF THE WORLD AND THE FLYING SHIP by Christopher Denise
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: March 23, 1994

"A handsome edition, with especially felicitous typography and design. (Folklore/Picture book. 5-10)"
A scrupulous note explains that, with ``minimal'' editing, this is the great Russian collector Afanasev's version, ``crafted by Petr Nikolaevich Polevoi (1839-1902), a well-known historian, archaeologist, and Shakespearean scholar.'' In outline, it differs little from Arthur Ransome's text as used in Uri Shulevitz's Caldecott winner (1968); but where Ransome is more literary and humorous, the more straightforward text here is propelled by its energetic cadence. Read full book review >
ADVENTURE
Released: March 23, 1994

"Venti's soft-pencil illustrations pick up amusingly on Fritz's humor (though not on the wry indignation that frequently propels it), while his frequent maps help to clarify the journeys. (Nonfiction. 7-11)"
Deftly navigating the politically correct waters of revisionist history, Fritz surveys the brief period, beginning early in the 15th century (when the world known to Europeans consisted mostly of Europe, the Middle East, and parts of Asia), during which most of the globe's coastlines were first mapped. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Michael Eric Dyson
February 2, 2016

In Michael Eric Dyson’s rich and nuanced book new book, The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America, Dyson writes with passion and understanding about Barack Obama’s “sad and disappointing” performance regarding race and black concerns in his two terms in office. While race has defined his tenure, Obama has been “reluctant to take charge” and speak out candidly about the nation’s racial woes, determined to remain “not a black leader but a leader who is black.” Dyson cogently examines Obama’s speeches and statements on race, from his first presidential campaign through recent events—e.g., the Ferguson riots and the eulogy for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney in Charleston—noting that the president is careful not to raise the ire of whites and often chastises blacks for their moral failings. At his best, he spoke with “special urgency for black Americans” during the Ferguson crisis and was “at his blackest,” breaking free of constraints, in his “Amazing Grace” Charleston eulogy. Dyson writes here as a realistic, sometimes-angry supporter of the president. View video >