Similar in tone and feel to Young Frank, Architect (2013), this companion acts as both promotion for the MoMA and an...

YOUNG CHARLOTTE, FILMMAKER

Tiny, bespectacled Charlotte is a young filmmaker who has discovered the joy of black-and-white cinematography.

In fact, color gives her a headache. Using her very black cat, Smudge, as a model, she shoots lots of monochrome footage, which is not always understood by her classmates. At the Museum of Modern Art, she encounters an artistic soul mate named Scarlet, who works in the film department. Scarlet introduces Charlotte to old black-and-white classics and arranges a screening of Charlotte’s film at the museum. The film is shown to great acclaim; she is the talk of the town, and even her classmates “embrace Charlotte in all her black-and-whiteness.” Mirroring the sophistication of Charlotte’s artistic ambitions, Viva’s design is funky and graphic, mostly monochrome and tan with touches of fuchsia, often for skin tones. He has a lot of fun with Manhattan signage, which pops out of the black endpapers and appears throughout the book. Surrealist figures populate the streets and peer out of windows. Aftermatter offers further information on the MoMA’s film department as well as brief bios of Lotte Reiniger and Jean Arp.

Similar in tone and feel to Young Frank, Architect (2013), this companion acts as both promotion for the MoMA and an encouragement to budding artists to think outside the box and pursue their dreams. (Picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-87070-950-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: MoMA

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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Deliberately inspirational and tinged with nostalgia, this will please fans but may strike others as overly idealistic.

STICKS AND STONES

Veteran picture-book creator Polacco tells another story from her childhood that celebrates the importance of staying true to one’s own interests and values.

After years of spending summers with her father and grandmother, narrator Trisha is excited to be spending the school year in Michigan with them. Unexpectedly abandoned by her summertime friends, Trisha quickly connects with fellow outsiders Thom and Ravanne, who may be familiar to readers from Polacco’s The Junkyard Wonders (2010). Throughout the school year, the three enjoy activities together and do their best to avoid school bully Billy. While a physical confrontation between Thom (aka “Sissy Boy”) and Billy does come, so does an opportunity for Thom to defy convention and share his talent with the community. Loosely sketched watercolor illustrations place the story in the middle of the last century, with somewhat old-fashioned clothing and an apparently all-White community. Trisha and her classmates appear to be what today would be called middle schoolers; a reference to something Trisha and her mom did when she was “only eight” suggests that several years have passed since that time. As usual, the lengthy first-person narrative is cozily conversational but includes some challenging vocabulary (textiles, lackeys, foretold). The author’s note provides a brief update about her friends’ careers and encourages readers to embrace their own differences. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at actual size.)

Deliberately inspirational and tinged with nostalgia, this will please fans but may strike others as overly idealistic. (Picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-2622-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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Plenty of baseball action, but the paint-by-numbers plot is just a vehicle for equally standard-issue advice. .

THE CONTRACT

For his eponymous imprint, the New York Yankees star leads off with a self-referential tale of Little League triumphs.

In the first of a projected 10 episodes based on the same number of “Life Lessons” espoused by the lead author’s Turn 2 Foundation, third-grader Derek turns in an essay announcing that his dream is to play shortstop for the New York Yankees (No. 1 on the Turn 2 list: “Set your goals high”). His parents take him seriously enough not only to present him with a “contract” that promises rewards for behaviors like working hard and avoiding alcohol and drugs, but also to put a flea in the ear of his teacher after she gives him a B-minus on the essay for being unrealistic. Derek then goes on to pull up his math grade. He also proceeds to pull off brilliant plays for his new Little League team despite finding himself stuck at second base while the coach’s son makes multiple bad decisions at shortstop and, worse, publicly puts down other team members. Jeter serves as his own best example of the chosen theme’s theoretical validity, but as he never acknowledges that making the majors (in any sport) requires uncommon physical talent as well as ambition and determination, this values-driven pitch is well out of the strike zone.

Plenty of baseball action, but the paint-by-numbers plot is just a vehicle for equally standard-issue advice. . (foundation ad and curriculum guide, not seen) (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4814-2312-0

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Jeter/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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