An incredible story that ought to be widely known—a must-read. (Picture book/biography. 7-12)

READ REVIEW

STEP RIGHT UP

HOW DOC AND JIM KEY TAUGHT THE WORLD ABOUT KINDNESS

Minter’s acrylic-painted linoleum-block prints combine with Bowman’s story of a former slave who trained a brilliant horse for a memorable book.

Born circa 1833 in Shelbyville, Tennessee, William “Doc” Key earned his nickname by developing expertise in caring for horses. He had helped many horses give birth, but when his purebred Arabian, Lauretta, gives birth to a weak, “spindly, shank-legged” colt, Doc despairs of ever raising a prizewinning racehorse. Raising Beautiful Jim Key with the attention a doting parent gives a child, Doc soon realizes that he has no ordinary horse. Over time, Doc teaches Jim to answer questions, spell words, and write letters on a blackboard. Doc makes a living from selling his liniments on a medicine wagon, but when Jim performs in the Tennessee Centennial Exposition, held in Nashville in 1897, it catapults both of them to fame, which Key uses to promote animal welfare. Surrounding this amazing and mostly true story is the American segregation that prevented Doc and Jim from performing in certain places and for certain audiences. The strong, black lines of Minter’s prints give the book an old-time–y feel; colored in a palette of gold, brown, and green, they glow with life. Photographs of Doc and Jim in the backmatter along with useful historical information on the pair will give readers valuable background and context.

An incredible story that ought to be widely known—a must-read. (Picture book/biography. 7-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62014-148-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Lee & Low Books

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

For every dreaming girl (and boy) with a pencil in hand (or keyboard) and a story to share. (Memoir/poetry. 8-12)

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2014

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • National Book Award Winner

  • Coretta Scott King Book Award Winner

  • Newbery Honor Book

BROWN GIRL DREAMING

A multiaward–winning author recalls her childhood and the joy of becoming a writer.

Writing in free verse, Woodson starts with her 1963 birth in Ohio during the civil rights movement, when America is “a country caught / / between Black and White.” But while evoking names such as Malcolm, Martin, James, Rosa and Ruby, her story is also one of family: her father’s people in Ohio and her mother’s people in South Carolina. Moving south to live with her maternal grandmother, she is in a world of sweet peas and collards, getting her hair straightened and avoiding segregated stores with her grandmother. As the writer inside slowly grows, she listens to family stories and fills her days and evenings as a Jehovah’s Witness, activities that continue after a move to Brooklyn to reunite with her mother. The gift of a composition notebook, the experience of reading John Steptoe’s Stevie and Langston Hughes’ poetry, and seeing letters turn into words and words into thoughts all reinforce her conviction that “[W]ords are my brilliance.” Woodson cherishes her memories and shares them with a graceful lyricism; her lovingly wrought vignettes of country and city streets will linger long after the page is turned.

For every dreaming girl (and boy) with a pencil in hand (or keyboard) and a story to share. (Memoir/poetry. 8-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-399-25251-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more