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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SAINT VALENTINE

The most interesting feature of this retelling of a story about a saint martyred in A.D. 270 is the art, a meticulous re- creation of the medium of its subject's period. Using thousands of tiny, rectangular pieces resembling tiles, Sabuda replicates the effect of Roman mosaics. His simple designs and harmonious, gently muted colors are pleasing, and he achieves surprising subtleties of expression, considering the intractability of the medium. Actually, the illustrations work even better from a slight distance (as with a group), so that the demarcations between the tiny pieces are less predominant. The technique, which tends to congeal the action, makes relatively undramatic illustrations; still, it's a fascinating experiment that brings the ancient world to life by paying tribute to its art rather than by picturing it in a modern style. The straightforward narrative centers on Valentine as a physician whose ointment restores the sight of a jailer's blind daughter, long the saint's friend. It's implied that the long-awaited cure takes place at the moment of his offstage death; the story ends with the joy of the child's renewed vision. An unusual and attractive rendition. Historical note. (Nonfiction/Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 30, 1992

ISBN: 0-689-31762-X

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1992

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