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An energetic portrayal of O’Neil’s accomplishments that excludes historical and social background.

A sportswoman who was unstoppable.

Born in 1946 and Deaf from age 2, Kitty O’Neil was an active child from the get-go and went on to become a world-record breaker (holder of the women’s land-speed record and fastest quarter mile in auto history, among others), a stunt performer featured in movies and television, and an athlete who succeeded in a wide array of sports, including boat racing, diving, waterskiing, karate, cycling, skating, and horseback riding. How did she do it? From childhood, she wanted to be “the fastest girl on Earth,” and she continually focused on her goals and practiced while thriving on the breathtaking exhilaration of speed. Though at times a bit unwieldy, the illustrations of the determined woman in action overall match the enthusiasm of the animated, appealing, and accessible text. A book with a Deaf hero that doesn’t focus on Deafness and a tale of a feminist icon that doesn’t focus on sex, this selection presents O’Neil’s achievements without context; the challenges O’Neil presumably faced as a Deaf and female athlete go unmentioned. Readers learn in the aftermatter that O'Neil was also of Cherokee descent, an otherwise unexplored aspect of her identity. In making this decision, the author chose to focus on O’Neil’s accomplishments, which are astounding on their own. While the absence of contextual information is a pity, what’s here is bound to engage and excite readers and may inspire them to discover more about this unique, driven athlete and her love of speed. (This book was reviewed digitally.) (Editor's note: This review has been updated to clarify the subject's Native identity.)

An energetic portrayal of O’Neil’s accomplishments that excludes historical and social background. (author's note, notes, resources) (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 10, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12571-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2021

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A supplemental rather than introductory book on the great artist.

Frida Kahlo’s strong affection for and identification with animals form the lens through which readers view her life and work in this picture-book biography.

Each two-page spread introduces one or more of her pets, comparing her characteristics to theirs and adding biographical details. Confusingly for young readers, the beginning pages reference pets she owned as an adult, yet the illustrations and events referred to come from earlier in her life. Bonito the parrot perches in a tree overlooking young Frida and her family in her childhood home and pops up again later, just before the first mention of Diego Rivera. Granizo, the fawn, another pet from her adult years, is pictured beside a young Frida and her father along with a description of “her life as a little girl.” The author’s note adds important details about Kahlo’s life and her significance as an artist, as well as recommending specific paintings that feature her beloved animals. Expressive acrylic paintings expertly evoke Kahlo’s style and color palette. While young animal lovers will identify with her attachment to her pets and may enjoy learning about the Aztec origins of her Xolo dogs and the meaning of turkeys in ancient Mexico, the book may be of most interest to those who already have an interest in Kahlo’s life.

A supplemental rather than introductory book on the great artist. (Picture book/biography. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7358-4269-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: NorthSouth

Review Posted Online: June 18, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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Blandly inspirational fare made to evoke equally shrink-wrapped responses.

An NBA star pays tribute to the influence of his grandfather.

In the same vein as his Long Shot (2009), illustrated by Frank Morrison, this latest from Paul prioritizes values and character: “My granddad Papa Chilly had dreams that came true,” he writes, “so maybe if I listen and watch him, / mine will too.” So it is that the wide-eyed Black child in the simply drawn illustrations rises early to get to the playground hoops before anyone else, watches his elder working hard and respecting others, hears him cheering along with the rest of the family from the stands during games, and recalls in a prose afterword that his grandfather wasn’t one to lecture but taught by example. Paul mentions in both the text and the backmatter that Papa Chilly was the first African American to own a service station in North Carolina (his presumed dream) but not that he was killed in a robbery, which has the effect of keeping the overall tone positive and the instructional content one-dimensional. Figures in the pictures are mostly dark-skinned. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Blandly inspirational fare made to evoke equally shrink-wrapped responses. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-250-81003-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2022

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