A worthwhile story poorly told.

READ REVIEW

ONA JUDGE OUTWITS THE WASHINGTONS

AN ENSLAVED WOMAN FIGHTS FOR FREEDOM

A little-known true story of a slave sheds new light on George Washington and his family.

Ona Maria Judge was born a slave on Mount Vernon, the Virginia plantation of George Washington, commander of the Continental Army during the American Revolution. Ona’s mother, Betty, served as the Washington family seamstress and imparted needlework skills to Ona, which enabled her to escape harsh fieldwork conditions by becoming a house slave. When Washington was elected president, the family relocated to New York City, moving Ona—now Martha Washington’s personal slave—her brother Austin, and five other slaves with them in 1789. After a return to Mount Vernon, the family moved again to Philadelphia, the new capital. With the abolitionist movement gaining momentum, Ona realized the Washingtons would not free her; she would have to take her freedom. In 1796, when Mrs. Washington promised Ona as a wedding gift to her granddaughter, Ona decided to escape, assisted by the Rev. Richard Allen, a free black man, and others, to New Hampshire. The narrator emphasizes just how hard the Washington family tried to force Ona to return to them, using deception whenever possible. While this story offers important historical information, it is text-heavy, with an accretion of distracting details. The naïve-style illustrations are colorful but inconsistent, particularly in their evocation of the period, which will also limit this book’s appeal to children.

A worthwhile story poorly told.   (author’s note, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 6-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5435-1280-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Capstone Editions

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Blandly laudatory.

I AM WALT DISNEY

From the Ordinary People Change the World series

The iconic animator introduces young readers to each “happy place” in his life.

The tally begins with his childhood home in Marceline, Missouri, and climaxes with Disneyland (carefully designed to be “the happiest place on Earth”), but the account really centers on finding his true happy place, not on a map but in drawing. In sketching out his early flubs and later rocket to the top, the fictive narrator gives Ub Iwerks and other Disney studio workers a nod (leaving his labor disputes with them unmentioned) and squeezes in quick references to his animated films, from Steamboat Willie to Winnie the Pooh (sans Fantasia and Song of the South). Eliopoulos incorporates stills from the films into his cartoon illustrations and, characteristically for this series, depicts Disney as a caricature, trademark mustache in place on outsized head even in childhood years and child sized even as an adult. Human figures default to white, with occasional people of color in crowd scenes and (ahistorically) in the animation studio. One unidentified animator builds up the role-modeling with an observation that Walt and Mickey were really the same (“Both fearless; both resourceful”). An assertion toward the end—“So when do you stop being a child? When you stop dreaming”—muddles the overall follow-your-bliss message. A timeline to the EPCOT Center’s 1982 opening offers photos of the man with select associates, rodent and otherwise. An additional series entry, I Am Marie Curie, publishes simultaneously, featuring a gowned, toddler-sized version of the groundbreaking physicist accepting her two Nobel prizes.

Blandly laudatory. (bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-7352-2875-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

A solid introduction to fascinating artists, some familiar, others less so.

WOMEN ARTISTS A TO Z

Contemporary and historical female artists are showcased for younger readers.

The artists’ names aren’t presented in A-to-Z order. The alphabetical arrangement actually identifies signature motifs (“D is for Dots” for Yayoi Kusama); preferred media (“I is for Ink” for Elizabeth Catlett); or cultural, natural, or personal motives underlying artworks (“N is for Nature” for Maya Lin). Various media are covered, such as painting, box assemblage, collage, photography, pottery, and sculpture. One artist named isn’t an individual but rather the Gee’s Bend Collective, “generations of African American women in Gee’s Bend, Alabama,” renowned for quilting artistry. Each artist and her or their work is introduced on a double-page spread that features succinct descriptions conveying much admiring, easily comprehensible information. Colorful illustrations include graphically simplified representations of the women at work or alongside examples of their art; the spreads provide ample space for readers to understand what the artists produced. Several women were alive when this volume was written; some died in the recent past or last century; two worked several hundred years ago, when female artists were rare. Commendably, the profiled artists are very diverse: African American, Latina, Native American, Asian, white, and multiethnic women are represented; this diversity is reflected in their work, as explained via texts and illustrations.

A solid introduction to fascinating artists, some familiar, others less so. (minibiographies, discussion questions, art suggestions) (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-10872-7

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more