MICHELANGELO

Stanley is the premier creator of handsome, artistically ambitious, and factually accurate illustrated books that explore and explain the lives and times of major figures throughout history (Joan of Arc, 1998; Leonardo Da Vinci, 1996). She now trains her educated eye on and turns her skilled hand to that Renaissance master of painting and sculpture—Michelangelo. Building on strong preparatory research, Stanley, like the best adult biographers, distills the culture, history, politics, and aesthetic of this unique era. Stanley particularly excels in selecting and integrating just enough context and detail to assure a genuine, empathetic treatment. Indeed, she weaves all the major elements of Michelangelo’s long and astonishingly creative life into a compelling, anecdote-rich narrative: his country childhood with a wet-nurse and her stonecutter husband; early apprenticeships with the fresco painter Ghirlandaio and the sculptor Bertoldo; his “adoption” by Lorenzo de’ Medici of Florence and the benefits of long-term friendships with the Medici family members; his early and dramatic successes with the Pietà and the David; the patronage of Pope Julius II, which led to the Sistine Chapel ceiling and the astonishing Moses; work on the Medici Chapel, the Sistine Chapel’s Last Judgement, St. Peter’s in Rome (not completed in his lifetime); and finally, his peaceful death at 89. Stanley wisely understands the breadth of her own technique; instead of attempting to render these familiar Renaissance images herself, she ably integrates computer-manipulated reproductions of Michelangelo’s masterpieces into her carefully rendered mixed-media illustrations. This handsome, affordable, lavishly illustrated and wonderfully readable book has broad appeal. It deserves heavy representation in home, school, and public library collections. (Biography. 9+)

Pub Date: Aug. 31, 2000

ISBN: 0-688-15085-3

Page Count: 48

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2000

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Like oil itself, this is a book that needs to be handled with special care.

OIL

In 1977, the oil carrier Exxon Valdez spilled 11 million gallons of oil into a formerly pristine Alaskan ocean inlet, killing millions of birds, animals, and fish. Despite a cleanup, crude oil is still there.

The Winters foretold the destructive powers of the atomic bomb allusively in The Secret Project (2017), leaving the actuality to the backmatter. They make no such accommodations to young audiences in this disturbing book. From the dark front cover, on which oily blobs conceal a seabird, to the rescuer’s sad face on the back, the mother-son team emphasizes the disaster. A relatively easy-to-read and poetically heightened text introduces the situation. Oil is pumped from the Earth “all day long, all night long, / day after day, year after year” in “what had been unspoiled land, home to Native people // and thousands of caribou.” The scale of extraction is huge: There’s “a giant pipeline” leading to “enormous ships.” Then, crash. Rivers of oil gush out over three full-bleed wordless pages. Subsequent scenes show rocks, seabirds, and sea otters covered with oil. Finally, 30 years later, animals have returned to a cheerful scene. “But if you lift a rock… // oil / seeps / up.” For an adult reader, this is heartbreaking. How much more difficult might this be for an animal-loving child?

Like oil itself, this is a book that needs to be handled with special care. (author’s note, further reading) (Informational picture book. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 31, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3077-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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A beautiful, powerful reflection on a tragic history.

ON THE HORIZON

In spare verse, Lowry reflects on moments in her childhood, including the bombings of Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima. 

When she was a child, Lowry played at Waikiki Beach with her grandmother while her father filmed. In the old home movie, the USS Arizona appears through the mist on the horizon. Looking back at her childhood in Hawaii and then Japan, Lowry reflects on the bombings that began and ended a war and how they affected and connected everyone involved. In Part 1, she shares the lives and actions of sailors at Pearl Harbor. Part 2 is stories of civilians in Hiroshima affected by the bombing. Part 3 presents her own experience as an American in Japan shortly after the war ended. The poems bring the haunting human scale of war to the forefront, like the Christmas cards a sailor sent days before he died or the 4-year-old who was buried with his red tricycle after Hiroshima. All the personal stories—of sailors, civilians, and Lowry herself—are grounding. There is heartbreak and hope, reminding readers to reflect on the past to create a more peaceful future. Lowry uses a variety of poetry styles, identifying some, such as triolet and haiku. Pak’s graphite illustrations are like still shots of history, adding to the emotion and somber feeling. He includes some sailors of color among the mostly white U.S. forces; Lowry is white.

A beautiful, powerful reflection on a tragic history. (author’s note, bibliography) (Memoir/poetry. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-358-12940-0

Page Count: 80

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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