The pleasure of finding unexpected links between a new country and the old suffuses this autobiographical outing.

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AUNTIE YANG'S GREAT SOYBEAN PICNIC

More warm family memories from the Chinese-American creators of Mahjong All Day Long (2005), with cheery illustrations painted on ceramic plates.

The treasured weekend visits with Auntie and Uncle Yang that help an immigrant family cope with feelings of isolation take on a new wrinkle when Auntie Yang spots a field of soybeans on a Sunday drive. Mao dou were considered animal food in this country at the time but widely consumed in China. The armloads of plants that the friendly farmer allows her to bring home begin an annual picnic tradition. It eventually expands to include many Chicago-area families with, as the young narrator notes, “lots of kids just our ages who all spoke Chinese as badly as we did!” Years later, a long-awaited reunion between Auntie Yang and her sibs from China closes these memories of good times and mouth-watering Chinese food on a joyful note. The simply drawn scenes of busy, festive groups reflect the narrative’s happy tone, and they are capped with old snapshots from past gatherings in the afterword.

The pleasure of finding unexpected links between a new country and the old suffuses this autobiographical outing. (glossary) (Picture book/memoir. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-60060-442-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Lee & Low Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 15, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2012

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Rappaport makes this long struggle palpable and relevant, while Faulkner adds a winning mix of gravitas and high spirits.

ELIZABETH STARTED ALL THE TROUBLE

Rappaport examines the salient successes and raw setbacks along the 144-year-long road between the nation’s birth and women’s suffrage.

This lively yet forthright narrative pivots on a reality that should startle modern kids: women’s right to vote was only achieved in 1920, 72 years after Elizabeth Cady Stanton organized the first Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, New York. Indeed, time’s passage figures as a textual motif, connecting across decades such determined women as Stanton, Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, and Lucy Stone. They spoke tirelessly, marched, organized, and got arrested. Rappaport includes events such as 1913’s Women’s Suffrage Parade in Washington, D.C., but doesn’t shy from divisive periods like the Civil War. Faulkner’s meticulously researched gouache-and-ink illustrations often infuse scenes with humor by playing with size and perspective. As Stanton and Lucretia Mott sail into London in 1840 for the World Anti-Slavery Conference, Faulkner depicts the two women as giants on the ship’s upper deck. On the opposite page, as they learn they’ll be barred as delegates, they’re painted in miniature, dwarfed yet unflappable beneath a gallery full of disapproving men. A final double-page spread mingles such modern stars as Shirley Chisholm and Sonia Sotomayor amid the historical leaders.

Rappaport makes this long struggle palpable and relevant, while Faulkner adds a winning mix of gravitas and high spirits. (biographical thumbnails, chronology, sources, websites, further reading, author’s note) (Picture book/biography. 6-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7868-5142-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2015

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The runt of the litter of print titles and websites covering the topic.

PRESIDENT ADAMS' ALLIGATOR

This tally of presidential pets reads like a school report (for all that the author is a journalist for Fox Business Network) and isn’t helped by its suite of amateurish illustrations.

Barnes frames the story with a teacher talking to her class and closes it with quizzes and a write-on “ballot.” Presidents from Washington to Obama—each paired to mentions of birds, dogs, livestock, wild animals and other White House co-residents—parade past in a rough, usually undated mix of chronological order and topical groupings. The text is laid out in monotonous blocks over thinly colored scenes that pose awkwardly rendered figures against White House floors or green lawns. In evident recognition that the presidents might be hard to tell apart, on some (but not enough) pages they carry identifying banners. The animals aren’t so differentiated; an unnamed goat that William Henry Harrison is pulling along with his cow Sukey in one picture looks a lot like one that belonged to Benjamin Harrison, and in some collective views, it’s hard to tell which animals go with which first family.

The runt of the litter of print titles and websites covering the topic. (bibliography, notes for adult readers) (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 18, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-62157-035-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Patriot Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 31, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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