This inspiring, relatable life story is in the good hands (er, paws) of a biographer.


A cat biographer interviews the first Black female astronaut in this second installment of a children’s book series.

Former NASA astronaut Mae Jemison wrote an autobiography, Find Where the Wind Goes (2001), and she has been the subject of many works for children. Now, the true story of her life is told—by her cat, Sneeze (“with hardly any help” from author/humorist Greenburg). In this entertaining and informative book for ages 8 to 12, Sneeze, who speaks English as well as “cattish,” interviews Jemison about her childhood, when she was “always in motion…jumping, climbing, falling, and dancing.” Sneeze also explores influences, events, challenges, and Jemison’s own inexhaustible drive that launched her into space and history. Greenburg’s series opener was The Only True Biography of Ben Franklin by His Cat, Missy Hooper (2020). The author’s light touch in this sequel doesn’t trivialize the serious aspects of Jemison’s story, including her experiences with racism. Greenburg allows Sneeze’s puzzlement over why color should matter to send its own message. Jemison remembers the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and being frightened as much by the violent turmoil that erupted as by the armed National Guardsmen marching past her family’s house. She describes what it was like to be a 16-year-old freshman pursuing chemical engineering at Stanford University and facing dismissive professors. Cornell University Medical College, stints as a young doctor in Asia and Africa, and other notable accomplishments followed before Jemison realized her childhood dream aboard the Endeavor space shuttle in 1992. At Sneeze’s prompting, Jemison describes astronaut training and space travel in absorbing detail. A few diverting digressions from the biography reflect the cat’s interest in such subjects as Africa’s most lethal animals and how a litter box might work (or not) in weightless conditions. (The latter is part of the gross and engrossing chapter “How Astronauts Poop in Space and Do Other Stuff.”) Hill offers black-and-white, cartoony illustrations. The stirring book ends with Jemison’s astonishing post-NASA career.

This inspiring, relatable life story is in the good hands (er, paws) of a biographer.

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-63411-011-2

Page Count: 154

Publisher: Thunderstone Books

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

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Involving from "the end of my lovely world" to the end of exile (when the Rudomins, as Jews, were jeered in Poland), this is...



To Esther Rudomin at eleven Siberia meant the metaphor: isolation, criminals and cruel punishment, snow and wolves; but even in Siberia there is satisfaction from making a friend of a prickly classmate, from seeing a Deanna Durbin movie four times, from earning and studying and eventually belonging.

Especially in Siberia, where not wolves but hunger and dirt and cold are endemic, where shabbiness and overcrowding are taken for granted, where unselfishness is exceptional. At the heart of Mrs. Hautzig's memoir of four years as a Polish deportee in Russia during World War II is not only hardihood and adaptability but uniquely a girl like any other. Abruptly seized in their comfortable home in Vilna, Esther and her family, are shipped in cattle cars to Rubtsovsk in the Altai Territory, work as slave laborers in a gypsum mine until amnesty, then are "permitted" lobs and lodging in the village--if someone will take them in. After sleeping on the floor, a wooden platform is very welcome; after sharing a room with two other families, a separate dung hut seems a homestead. Then Esther goes to school, the greatest boon, and, to her mother's horror, wants to be like the Siberians....Deprivation does not make Esther grim: the saddest day of her life is her father's departure for a labor brigade at the front, her sharpest bitterness is for the bland viciousness of individuals.

Involving from "the end of my lovely world" to the end of exile (when the Rudomins, as Jews, were jeered in Poland), this is a beautiful book with no bar to wide acceptance (and a rich non-juvenile jacket by Nonny Hogrogian). (Memoir. 8-12)

Pub Date: April 15, 1968

ISBN: 978-0-06-447027-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: T.Y. Crowell

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1968

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The car gets shortchanged, but comparing the divergent career paths of its (putative) two riders may give readers food for...



A custom-built, bulletproof limo links two historical figures who were pre-eminent in more or less different spheres.

Garland admits that a claim that FDR was driven to Congress to deliver his “Day of Infamy” speech in a car that once belonged to Capone rests on shaky evidence. He nonetheless uses the anecdote as a launchpad for twin portraits of contemporaries who occupy unique niches in this country’s history but had little in common. Both were smart, ambitious New Yorkers and were young when their fathers died, but they definitely “headed in opposite directions.” As he fills his biographical sketches with standard-issue facts and has disappointingly little to say about the car itself (which was commissioned by Capone in 1928 and still survives), this outing seems largely intended to be a vehicle for the dark, heavy illustrations. These are done in muted hues with densely scratched surfaces and angled so that the two men, the period backgrounds against which they are posed, and the car have monumental looks. It’s a reach to bill this, as the author does, a “story about America,” but it does at least offer a study in contrasts featuring two of America’s most renowned citizens. Most of the human figures are white in the art, but some group scenes include a few with darker skin.

The car gets shortchanged, but comparing the divergent career paths of its (putative) two riders may give readers food for thought. (timeline, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 10-12)

Pub Date: March 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-88448-620-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Tilbury House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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