Entertaining, informative—utterly delightful.

READ REVIEW

CAPTAIN'S LOG

SNOWBOUND

When a young adventurer is snowed in, his predicament begins to parallel that of the icebound Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton.

A young boy is all set for a school presentation about Ernest Shackleton’s 1914-16 expedition to Antarctica when he gets unexpectedly snowed in by a storm. Taking charge of the ship (his house) and reassuring the crew (his family), the young captain records his adventures, which mirror significant details of Shackleton’s infamous voyage, in his captain’s log. Full of heart and imagination, the boy transforms the family dog into his first mate, neighbors into penguins, and his little brother into a scallywag. The young captain does his best to perform his duties and care for his crew and ship just as Shackleton would have, but when the hardtack (cookie jar) disappears and mutiny threatens, the captain must resort to unorthodox methods to solve the mystery and get back on track. Dionne and Ebbeler have crafted a narrative full of spirit with small aesthetic choices that together capture the exhilaration of exploration and help connect the imaginary to the everyday. Historical details, including a glossary and brief account of Shackleton’s treacherous voyage, enrich a story that takes its pretend play very seriously, and a multiracial family and an endearing protagonist of color are welcome inclusions in a predominantly white landscape of adventure tales.

Entertaining, informative—utterly delightful. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-58089-825-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: Sept. 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the...

ROSIE REVERE, ENGINEER

Rhymed couplets convey the story of a girl who likes to build things but is shy about it. Neither the poetry nor Rosie’s projects always work well.

Rosie picks up trash and oddments where she finds them, stashing them in her attic room to work on at night. Once, she made a hat for her favorite zookeeper uncle to keep pythons away, and he laughed so hard that she never made anything publicly again. But when her great-great-aunt Rose comes to visit and reminds Rosie of her own past building airplanes, she expresses her regret that she still has not had the chance to fly. Great-great-aunt Rose is visibly modeled on Rosie the Riveter, the iconic, red-bandanna–wearing poster woman from World War II. Rosie decides to build a flying machine and does so (it’s a heli-o-cheese-copter), but it fails. She’s just about to swear off making stuff forever when Aunt Rose congratulates her on her failure; now she can go on to try again. Rosie wears her hair swooped over one eye (just like great-great-aunt Rose), and other figures have exaggerated hairdos, tiny feet and elongated or greatly rounded bodies. The detritus of Rosie’s collections is fascinating, from broken dolls and stuffed animals to nails, tools, pencils, old lamps and possibly an erector set. And cheddar-cheese spray.

Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the right place. (historical note) (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4197-0845-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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Fun but earnest, this rhyming romp reminds readers that one young person can make a difference.

SOFIA VALDEZ, FUTURE PREZ

From the Questioneers series

Sofia Valdez proves that community organizers of any age can have a positive impact.

After a trash-heap eyesore causes an injury to her beloved abuelo, Sofia springs into action to bring big change to her neighborhood. The simple rhymes of the text follow Sofia on her journey from problem through ideas to action as she garners community support for an idyllic new park to replace the dangerous junk pile. When bureaucracy threatens to quash Sofia’s nascent plan, she digs deep and reflects that “being brave means doing the thing you must do, / though your heart cracks with fear. / Though you’re just in Grade Two.” Sofia’s courage yields big results and inspires those around her to lend a hand. Implied Latinx, Sofia and her abuelo have medium brown skin, and Sofia has straight brown hair (Abuelo is bald). Readers will recognize Iggy Peck, Rosie Revere, and Ada Twist from Beaty’s previous installments in the Questioneers series making cameo appearances in several scenes. While the story connects back to the title and her aptitude for the presidency in only the second-to-last sentence of the book, Sofia’s leadership and grit are themes throughout. Roberts’ signature illustration style lends a sense of whimsy; detailed drawings will have readers scouring each page for interesting minutiae.

Fun but earnest, this rhyming romp reminds readers that one young person can make a difference. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3704-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

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