The large format and attractive, cartoonlike illustrations provide an inviting look at a country not often included in many...



Three cousins representing the diverse cultural groups who inhabit the Philippines take readers on a tour of the many islands that make up the archipelago.

Mary, Jaime, and Ari are the offspring of three sisters from the Ifugao people of Luzon, but their fathers are of Chinese, Spanish, and Muslim Arab descent. This device lends an artificial, idealized spin to the diversity question, but it gets the job done. No mention is made of the contemporary rise of Muslim separatists, although the section on history notes that the Americans “impos[ed] their style of democratic authority.” The emphasis is on cultural activities, including religious holidays, and favorite foods (with recipes for pancit, a noodle dish; polveron, a candy made from powdered milk; and halo-halo, a combination of fruits and beans with ice, sugar, and milk). There are descriptions of games including sipa, which is similar to hacky sack, with directions for making your own sipa, and sungka, also known as mancala in Africa and the Middle East. Unfortunately, instructions are not clear enough to really play. The only craft is a modified parol, a Christmas decoration. A creation myth and one song are included, but the book’s real strength is the description of activities and life in different parts of the country.

The large format and attractive, cartoonlike illustrations provide an inviting look at a country not often included in many other resources for children. (websites, index ) (Nonfiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8048-4072-9

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Tuttle

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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Go adventuring with a better guide.


From the The 50 States series

Find something to do in every state in the U.S.A.!

This guide highlights a location of interest within each of the states, therefore excluding Washington, D.C., and the territories. Trivia about each location is scattered across crisply rendered landscapes that background each state’s double-page spread while diminutive, diverse characters populate the scenes. Befitting the title, one “adventure” is presented per state, such as shrimping in Louisiana’s bayous, snowshoeing in Connecticut, or celebrating the Fourth of July in Boston. While some are stereotypical gimmes (surfing in California), others have the virtue of novelty, at least for this audience, such as viewing the sandhill crane migration in Nebraska. Within this thematic unity, some details go astray, and readers may find themselves searching in vain for animals mentioned. The trivia is plentiful but may be misleading, vague, or incorrect. Information about the Native American peoples of the area is often included, but its brevity—especially regarding sacred locations—means readers are floundering without sufficient context. The same is true for many of the facts that relate directly to expansion and colonialism, such as the unexplained near extinction of bison. Describing the genealogical oral history of South Carolina’s Gullah community as “spin[ning] tales” is equally brusque and offensive. The book tries to do a lot, but it is more style than substance, which may leave readers bored, confused, slightly annoyed—or all three. (This book was reviewed digitally with 12.2-by-20.2-inch double-page spreads viewed at 80% of actual size.)

Go adventuring with a better guide. (tips on local adventuring, index) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7112-5445-9

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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An undeniably indelible woman inspiring readers to reach their own heights.



If folks in the small Texas town where Gov. Ann Richards spent her childhood thought little Dorothy Ann Willis was good at climbing trees and baiting a trotline, and if her high school classmates in Waco thought she was a “speech and debate team marvel”—well, “…JUST WAIT, you’ll see.”

This quirky biography with a homespun voice takes a look at the life and career of the 45th governor of the Lone Star State. As a teenager, she traveled to Washington, D.C., and came back understanding “the importance of civic duty.” She couldn’t be stopped. “There were people to meet and problems that needed fixing.” As a county commissioner, she “built a bridge between the predictable past and the limitless future.” When elected state treasurer, she hired “staff that reflected the folks around her.” With her booming voice and her “high-cotton” hair, Richards had big ideas for herself and her state. When people thought she should be a candidate to run for president, she said there was “still work to be done in Texas”—and did it. Well-organized and colorfully written, the book presents Richards at her highest and lowest, taking care to show how its subject became the formidable progressive and inclusive politician she was. Bright, bold illustrations chock-full of period detail underscore this with depictions of the vigorously multicultural staff and state this White woman helmed. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 32.4% of actual size.)

An undeniably indelible woman inspiring readers to reach their own heights. (biographical note, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 7-10)

Pub Date: June 22, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-17327-5

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Random House Studio

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2021

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