A must-read reference for any hip-hop family.

WHAT IS HIP-HOP?

In this follow-up to What is Punk? (2015), the author-and-illustrator team takes on hip-hop, in consultation with hip-hop historian, cultural critic, and Brooklynite George.

In rhythmic, rhyming verse, Morse offers a genealogy of hip-hop royalty that begins with the Boogie Down Bronx’s DJ Kool Herc and Grandmaster Flash and walks readers into today with Nicki Minaj, Drake, and Kendrick Lamar. In between the origins and now, readers find a rare gender-inclusive narrative of hip-hop history that uplifts B-girls like Queen Latifah and Missy Elliott along with legendary male groups such as NWA and Wu-Tang. Veteran hip-hop heads might note some chronological inconsistencies—a page for Eminem before Biggie and Tupac?—and, as with anything hip-hop, there will be some controversy over who makes it and who gets cut. Where’s Scarface? Master P? These debates should only stand to enhance the experience; it’s as much a part of the culture as the break-dancing, graffiti, and fashion that have influenced people all around the world. What everyone will agree upon will be the magnificent 3-D clay illustrations, which include an intricately produced remake of Tribe Called Quest’s legendary “Midnight Marauders” cover. Tying these images back to their original sources makes for quite the history lesson. Make sure to keep a device nearby.

A must-read reference for any hip-hop family. (Informational picture book. 5-adult)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-61775-584-2

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Black Sheep/Akashic

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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Blandly laudatory.

I AM WALT DISNEY

From the Ordinary People Change the World series

The iconic animator introduces young readers to each “happy place” in his life.

The tally begins with his childhood home in Marceline, Missouri, and climaxes with Disneyland (carefully designed to be “the happiest place on Earth”), but the account really centers on finding his true happy place, not on a map but in drawing. In sketching out his early flubs and later rocket to the top, the fictive narrator gives Ub Iwerks and other Disney studio workers a nod (leaving his labor disputes with them unmentioned) and squeezes in quick references to his animated films, from Steamboat Willie to Winnie the Pooh (sans Fantasia and Song of the South). Eliopoulos incorporates stills from the films into his cartoon illustrations and, characteristically for this series, depicts Disney as a caricature, trademark mustache in place on outsized head even in childhood years and child sized even as an adult. Human figures default to white, with occasional people of color in crowd scenes and (ahistorically) in the animation studio. One unidentified animator builds up the role-modeling with an observation that Walt and Mickey were really the same (“Both fearless; both resourceful”). An assertion toward the end—“So when do you stop being a child? When you stop dreaming”—muddles the overall follow-your-bliss message. A timeline to the EPCOT Center’s 1982 opening offers photos of the man with select associates, rodent and otherwise. An additional series entry, I Am Marie Curie, publishes simultaneously, featuring a gowned, toddler-sized version of the groundbreaking physicist accepting her two Nobel prizes.

Blandly laudatory. (bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-7352-2875-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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A splendid volume for young adventurers.

SURVIVOR KID

A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO WILDERNESS SURVIVAL

Based on her work with middle-school students, Long offers lessons on how to stay healthy and out of trouble while awaiting rescue, the same lessons taught to adults in her survival classes.

Her matter-of-fact, no-nonsense tone will play well with young readers, and the clear writing style is appropriate to the content. The engaging guide covers everything from building shelters to avoiding pigs and javelinas. With subjects like kissing bugs, scorpions, snow blindness and “How going to the bathroom can attract bears and mountain lions,” the volume invites browsing as much as studying. The information offered is sometimes obvious: “If you find yourself facing an alligator, get away from it”; sometime humorous: Raccoons will “fight with your dog, steal all your food, then climb up a tree and call you bad names in raccoon language”; and sometimes not comforting: “When alligators attack on land, they usually make one grab at you; if they miss, you are usually safe.” But when survival is at stake, the more information the better, especially when leavened with some wit. An excellent bibliography will lead young readers to a host of fascinating websites, and 150 clipart-style line drawings complement the text.

A splendid volume for young adventurers. (index not seen) (Nonfiction. 9-14)

Pub Date: May 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-56976-708-5

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Chicago Review Press

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2011

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