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DIANA'S WHITE HOUSE GARDEN

An important piece of our history brought down to a child’s level.

Based on a true story, Carbone’s story shines a light on the little girl who became the face of the first White House victory garden.

It was 1943, and the United States was at war. Everyone was contributing to the war effort: men were fighting for their country overseas. Women were producing heavy machinery in factories. Ten-year-old Diana Hopkins, who lived in the White House (her father was President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s chief adviser), wanted to help too. At first, she thought she might be a spy and practiced by sneaking into the dumbwaiter. But the housekeeper was not pleased. Then she stuck pins in chairs all around the White House to keep “enemies” at bay. That didn’t go well either, especially since Mrs. Roosevelt’s friend actually sat on one! One day, President Roosevelt presented Diana with the perfect opportunity. Soon, Diana was turning over soil, fertilizing, and planting beans and tomatoes. By the time her vegetables were ready for harvesting, Diana not only provided a bounty for the White House table, but also inspired the whole country to plant victory gardens. Carbone’s straightforward text features just the right details to engage children. It is complemented by Hill’s mix of simple line drawings and muted colors that evoke the era’s austerity. Diana is white, as are the president’s advisers, but many of the White House staff as well as passers-by on Pennsylvania Avenue are black or brown.

An important piece of our history brought down to a child’s level. (author’s note) (Informational picture book. 4-10)

Pub Date: May 3, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-670-01649-5

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: March 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2016

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THE WATER PRINCESS

Though told by two outsiders to the culture, this timely and well-crafted story will educate readers on the preciousness of...

An international story tackles a serious global issue with Reynolds’ characteristic visual whimsy.

Gie Gie—aka Princess Gie Gie—lives with her parents in Burkina Faso. In her kingdom under “the African sky, so wild and so close,” she can tame wild dogs with her song and make grass sway, but despite grand attempts, she can neither bring the water closer to home nor make it clean. French words such as “maintenant!” (now!) and “maman” (mother) and local color like the karite tree and shea nuts place the story in a French-speaking African country. Every morning, Gie Gie and her mother perch rings of cloth and large clay pots on their heads and walk miles to the nearest well to fetch murky, brown water. The story is inspired by model Georgie Badiel, who founded the Georgie Badiel Foundation to make clean water accessible to West Africans. The details in Reynolds’ expressive illustrations highlight the beauty of the West African landscape and of Princess Gie Gie, with her cornrowed and beaded hair, but will also help readers understand that everyone needs clean water—from the children of Burkina Faso to the children of Flint, Michigan.

Though told by two outsiders to the culture, this timely and well-crafted story will educate readers on the preciousness of potable water. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-399-17258-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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ADA TWIST AND THE PERILOUS PANTS

From the Questioneers series , Vol. 2

Adventure, humor, and smart, likable characters make for a winning chapter book.

Ada Twist’s incessant stream of questions leads to answers that help solve a neighborhood crisis.

Ada conducts experiments at home to answer questions such as, why does Mom’s coffee smell stronger than Dad’s coffee? Each answer leads to another question, another hypothesis, and another experiment, which is how she goes from collecting data on backyard birds for a citizen-science project to helping Rosie Revere figure out how to get her uncle Ned down from the sky, where his helium-filled “perilous pants” are keeping him afloat. The Questioneers—Rosie the engineer, Iggy Peck the architect, and Ada the scientist—work together, asking questions like scientists. Armed with knowledge (of molecules and air pressure, force and temperature) but more importantly, with curiosity, Ada works out a solution. Ada is a recognizable, three-dimensional girl in this delightfully silly chapter book: tirelessly curious and determined yet easily excited and still learning to express herself. If science concepts aren’t completely clear in this romp, relationships and emotions certainly are. In playful full- and half-page illustrations that break up the text, Ada is black with Afro-textured hair; Rosie and Iggy are white. A closing section on citizen science may inspire readers to get involved in science too; on the other hand, the “Ode to a Gas!” may just puzzle them. Other backmatter topics include the importance of bird study and the threat palm-oil use poses to rainforests.

Adventure, humor, and smart, likable characters make for a winning chapter book. (Fiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: April 16, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3422-9

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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