Lovely art comes with unusual perspectives on familiar tales about lions, mice, and trickster foxes.

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THE FABLED LIFE OF AESOP

THE EXTRAORDINARY JOURNEY AND COLLECTED TALES OF THE WORLD'S GREATEST STORYTELLER

Messages both overt and hidden in the life and preserved wisdom of an enslaved storyteller.

Yes, Lendler acknowledges, Aesop’s fables are generally interpreted as “simple lessons on virtue and good values,” but on closer looks, “many of them are actually practical advice on how to survive in a world in which some have power and some do not.” As evidence, he selects 13 to retell—most (“The Ant and the Grasshopper,” “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”) well known, others, such as “The Donkey and the Lapdog” and “The Lion and the Statue,” less so. Some are embedded in an imagined account of Aesop’s life based on legends from later centuries. In this narrative, the child of enslaved parents learns to speak “in code,” impresses one master but is sold to a second, and, after some years, wins freedom at last with the story of a wolf who would rather go hungry than be collared like a dog. Zagarenski places light-skinned, delicately expressive humans and graceful animals (the latter often in anthropomorphic dress and postures) into golden-toned settings. The book is highlighted by a lyrical trio of climactic freedom scenes in which morals, titles, and lines from fables become decorative elements, swirling exuberantly through dense crowds of figures. Morals printed in gold add further sumptuous notes to the tersely rendered fables.

Lovely art comes with unusual perspectives on familiar tales about lions, mice, and trickster foxes. (afterword, bibliography) (Folktales. 7-10)

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-328-58552-3

Page Count: 64

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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She said, “Failure is impossible,” and she was right, but unfortunately her steely determination does not come through in...

SUSAN B. ANTHONY

Susan B. Anthony worked to win women the right to vote her whole long life, but she did not live to see it done.

Wallner uses her flat decorative style and rich matte colors to depict Susan B. Anthony’s life, layering on details: Susan catching snowflakes behind her parents’ house; working in her father’s mill (briefly) and then departing school when the money ran out; writing at her desk; speaking passionately in front of small groups and rowdy crowds. It’s a little too wordy and a little less than engaging in describing a life in which Anthony traveled alone, hired her own halls, spoke tirelessly about women’s suffrage, published, created forums where women could speak freely and was arrested for registering to vote. Her life-long friendship with suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton is touched on, as are the virulent attacks against her ideas and her person. She died in 1906. Votes for women did not come to pass in the United States until 1920.

She said, “Failure is impossible,” and she was right, but unfortunately her steely determination does not come through in this book. (timeline, bibliography, source notes) (Picture book/biography. 7-10)

Pub Date: March 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8234-1953-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2012

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A sensitive, discussable access point for children learning about Holocaust history.

JARS OF HOPE

HOW ONE WOMAN HELPED SAVE 2,500 CHILDREN DURING THE HOLOCAUST

The brave work of Irena Sendler, one of the righteous gentiles of World War II, is succinctly depicted in this new picture book.

“There are two kinds of people in this world, good and bad.” As a child, wise words from her father gave Irena a guiding principle to live by and prompted the adult Sendler to find ways to save 2,500 innocent Jewish children and babies from the horror of their Holocaust fate. She worked with a network of smugglers and shelters to hide them in carpentry boxes, vegetable sacks, and laundry piles, transporting them to orphanages and the homes of willing Christian foster families, recording the children’s names so they could be found later and burying her lists in the titular jars. And when she herself was imprisoned by the Nazis, Zegota, the Polish resistance group, bribed guards to free her so she could continue her important work. Digital and traditional art in opaque dark browns and grays illustrates the sinister period and shadowy existence of these saved children. Roy’s chronological narrative concentrates on the period from 1940 to 1944 and stresses Sendler’s heroism; it also includes invented scenes and dialogue, marking it as fiction.

A sensitive, discussable access point for children learning about Holocaust history. (afterword, author’s note, glossary, index, source notes) (Picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62370-425-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Capstone Young Readers

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

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