Valuable for calling attention to many active and still-rising political leaders but fodder more for school reports than for...

BOOK OF BLACK HEROES

POLITICAL LEADERS PAST AND PRESENT

From the Book of Black Heroes series

A gallery of African-American role models, most still alive, who have held or are holding political office.

Robertson leads off his 50 selections with former President Barack Obama and proceeds down the political hierarchy from governors to U.S. senators and representatives, “state leaders,” and finally “municipal leaders.” Though Robert Smalls (1839-1915) and several other 19th-century figures earn entries, the focus is really on more recent trailblazers—culminating in Aja Brown (b. 1982), mayor of Compton, California. Although there are occasional lively moments (“Following a period of youthful exuberance, during which [future Missouri Rep. William Lacy] Clay, Jr. hung out and hustled pool…”), the prose is as utilitarian as the page design. For the most part, the brief biographies lay out obstacles overcome and career accomplishments without capturing more than fugitive glimpses of individual character, voice, or even experience. The black-and-white portrait photos likewise share a bland sameness—unsurprising, as most appear to be standard head shots of the sort used to decorate office walls and websites.

Valuable for calling attention to many active and still-rising political leaders but fodder more for school reports than for inspiration. (timeline, index) (Collective biography. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-933491-21-9

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Just Us Books

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

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THE ARABIAN NIGHTS

In a large, handsome format, Tarnowska offers six tales plus an abbreviated version of the frame story, retold in formal but contemporary language and sandwiched between a note on the Nights’ place in her childhood in Lebanon and a page of glossary and source notes. Rather than preserve the traditional embedded structure and cliffhanger cutoffs, she keeps each story discrete and tones down the sex and violence. This structure begs the question of why Shahriyar lets Shahrazade [sic] live if she tells each evening’s tale complete, but it serves to simplify the reading for those who want just one tale at a time. Only the opener, “Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp,” is likely to be familiar to young readers; in others a prince learns to control a flying “Ebony Horse” by “twiddling” its ears, contending djinn argue whether “Prince Kamar el Zaman [or] Princess Boudour” is the more beautiful (the prince wins) and in a Cinderella tale a “Diamond Anklet” subs for the glass slipper. Hénaff’s stylized scenes of domed cityscapes and turbaned figures add properly whimsical visual notes to this short but animated gathering. (Folktales. 10-12)

 

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-84686-122-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Barefoot

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2010

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ONCE UPON A MARIGOLD

From the Marigold Trilogy series , Vol. 1

Cold indeed is the heart not made warm by this bubbly fairy-tale romance. Raised by a kindly forest troll, Christian knows little of the world beyond what he can see through his telescope, but gazing upon a nearby castle, he falls head over heels for Princess Marigold. What chance has he, though, as a (supposed) commoner? When at last he nerves himself to send her a message via carrier pigeon, she answers and the courtship is on—via “p-mail” at first, then, after he lands a job as a castle servant, face to face. Setting numerous fairy-tale conventions just a bit askew, Ferris (Of Sound Mind, 2001, etc.) surrounds her two smart, immensely likable teenagers, who are obviously made for each other, with rival suitors, hyperactive dogs, surprising allies, and strong adversaries. The most notable among the last is devious, domineering Queen Olympia, intent on forcing Marigold into marriage with a penniless, but noble, cipher. The author gets her commonsensical couple to “I Do” through brisk palace intrigue, life-threatening situations, riotous feasting, and general chaos; Queen Olympia gets suitable comeuppance, and the festivities are capped by the required revelation that Christian is actually heir to the throne of neighboring Zandelphia. Fans of Gail Carson Levine’s Princess Tales will be in familiar territory here, as well as seventh heaven. (Fiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-15-216791-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2002

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