A thought-provoking story with timely resonance.

READ REVIEW

THE NANTUCKET SEA MONSTER

A FAKE NEWS STORY

This nonfiction picture book chronicles the events surrounding a fake 1930s news story about a sea monster on Nantucket Island.

In 1937, Nantucket’s Inquirer and Mirror newspaper printed an interview with a man who said he saw a strange ocean creature. More eyewitnesses came forward; gigantic footprints appeared in the sand, and people contacted scientists. A rumor flew that the creature was caught, which turned out to be untrue. Around the country, frightened people read about the Nantucket Sea Monster before the truth was revealed: The “monster” was a 135-foot balloon created for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Everything from the eyewitness statements to the footprints was part of a publicity stunt orchestrated by puppeteer Tony Sarg, and the Inquirer and Mirror admitted to collaboration. Pattison (Road Whiz, 2018, etc.) sticks to the facts, with exact dates of events and dialogue taken directly from actual newspaper articles. However, the wry, playful delivery (“The story was gaining credibility. After all, the newspaper printed the stories, so it had to be true”) keeps things entertaining, brilliantly inviting discussion about hoaxes while remaining kid-appropriate. Back matter includes a glossary and a history of freedom of the press and fake news. Willis’ (Clang!, 2018, etc.) paint-and–mixed-media collage pieces complement the story wonderfully.

A thought-provoking story with timely resonance.

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62944-082-8

Page Count: 34

Publisher: Mims House

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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A lovely encouragement to young writers to persist.

HOW TO WRITE A STORY

This follow-up to How To Read a Story (2005) shows a child going through the steps of creating a story, from choosing an idea through sharing with friends.

A young black child lies in a grassy field writing in a journal, working on “Step 1 / Search for an Idea— / a shiny one.” During a walk to the library, various ideas float in colorful thought bubbles, with exclamation points: “playing soccer! / dogs!” Inside the library, less-distinct ideas, expressed as shapes and pictures, with question marks, float about as the writer collects ideas to choose from. The young writer must then choose a setting, a main character, and a problem for that protagonist. Plotting, writing with detail, and revising are described in child-friendly terms and shown visually, in the form of lists and notes on faux pieces of paper. Finally, the writer sits in the same field, in a new season, sharing the story with friends. The illustrations feature the child’s writing and drawing as well as images of imagined events from the book in progress bursting off the page. The child’s main character is an adventurous mermaid who looks just like the child, complete with afro-puff pigtails, representing an affirming message about writing oneself into the world. The child’s family, depicted as black, moves in the background of the setting, which is also populated by a multiracial cast.

A lovely encouragement to young writers to persist. (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4521-5666-8

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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PLANTING A RAINBOW

LAP-SIZED BOARD BOOK

From the artist who created last year's shoutingly vivid Growing Vegetable Soup, a companion volume about raising a flower garden. "Mom and I" plant bulbs (even rhizomes), choose seeds, buy seedlings, and altogether grow about 20 species. Unlike the vegetables, whose juxtaposed colors were almost painfully bright, the flowers make a splendidly gaudy array, first taken together and then interestingly grouped by color—the pages vary in size here so that colored strips down the right-hand side combine to make a broad rainbow. Bold, stylish, and indubitably inspired by real flowers, there is still (as with its predecessor) a link missing between these illustrations with their large, solid areas of color and the real experience of a garden. The stylized forms are almost more abstractions than representations (and why is the daisy yellow?). There is also little sense of the relative times for growing and blooming—everything seems to come almost at once. Perhaps the trouble is that Ehlert has captured all the color of the garden, but not its subtle gradations or the light, the space, the air, and the continual movement and change.

Pub Date: March 21, 1988

ISBN: 0152063048

Page Count: 66

Publisher: Harcourt, Brace

Review Posted Online: April 24, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1988

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