HEROES OF THE REVOLUTION

Adler presents 12 heroes of the American Revolution in an attractive, if slight, volume. He selected his subjects “as examples of the many brave and diverse heroes of the Revolution.” Presented with such iconic heroes as Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, and Paul Revere are Crispus Attucks, a former slave killed at the Boston Massacre; Deborah Sampson, whose epitaph reads “the female soldier”; Lydia Darragh, a spy; and Mary “Molly Pitcher” Hays, who served at the Battle of Monmouth. With no introduction to provide context, the one-page vignettes offer cardboard heroes at best. The dramatic, full-page watercolor illustrations provide the energy the text lacks. The bibliography is an odd assortment of sources—mostly older books for adults, with nothing pointing younger readers to the wealth of materials—including some of the author’s other works—on the subject for them. Useful only if matched with more informative sources, such as Doreen Rappaport and Joan Verniero’s recent Victory or Death! Stories of the American Revolution (p. 539). (contents, author’s notes, important dates, source notes, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 6-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2003

ISBN: 0-8234-1471-X

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2003

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26 FAIRMOUNT AVENUE

            The legions of fans who over the years have enjoyed dePaola’s autobiographical picture books will welcome this longer gathering of reminiscences.  Writing in an authentically childlike voice, he describes watching the new house his father was building go up despite a succession of disasters, from a brush fire to the hurricane of 1938.  Meanwhile, he also introduces family, friends, and neighbors, adds Nana Fall River to his already well-known Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs, remembers his first day of school (“ ‘ When do we learn to read?’  I asked.  ‘Oh, we don’t learn how to read in kindergarten.  We learn to read next year, in first grade.’  ‘Fine,’ I said.  ‘I’ll be back next year.’  And I walked right out of school.”), recalls holidays, and explains his indignation when the plot of Disney’s “Snow White” doesn’t match the story he knows.  Generously illustrated with vignettes and larger scenes, this cheery, well-knit narrative proves that an old dog can learn new tricks, and learn them surpassingly well.  (Autobiography.  7-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-399-23246-X

Page Count: 58

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1999

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THE FANTASTIC UNDERSEA LIFE OF JACQUES COUSTEAU

This second early biography of Cousteau in a year echoes Jennifer Berne’s Manfish: A Story of Jacques Cousteau (2008), illustrated by Eric Puybaret, in offering visuals that are more fanciful than informational, but also complements it with a focus less on the early life of the explorer and eco-activist than on his later inventions and achievements. In full-bleed scenes that are often segmented and kaleidoscopic, Yaccarino sets his hook-nosed subject amid shoals of Impressionistic fish and other marine images, rendered in multiple layers of thinly applied, imaginatively colored paint. His customarily sharp, geometric lines take on the wavy translucence of undersea shapes with a little bit of help from the airbrush. Along with tracing Cousteau’s undersea career from his first, life-changing, pair of goggles and the later aqualung to his minisub Sea Flea, the author pays tribute to his revolutionary film and TV work, and his later efforts to call attention to the effects of pollution. Cousteau’s enduring fascination with the sea comes through clearly, and can’t help sparking similar feelings in readers. (chronology, source list) (Picture book/biography. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 24, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-375-85573-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2009

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