Like other tributes in the series, adequate fare for cluing newer readers in on some worthy role models.

READ REVIEW

MARIE CURIE

From the Little People, BIG DREAMS series

A very first introduction to the great scientist.

Apparently more concerned with explaining why Marie Curie is worth knowing than compiling biographical details, Sánchez Vegara dispenses with most names and all dates to focus on achievements that reflect her subject’s intellect and character. Opening with Marie’s childhood vow to “be a scientist, not a princess” and her later move from her unnamed home country to become “the best math and science student in Paris,” the author highlights her marriage and Pierre’s “terrible accident,” her discoveries of radium and polonium (no explanation provided), her two Nobel Prizes, and how she helped injured soldiers in an unspecified way during a never-named war and afterward established an institute in Paris to further girls’ educations. Isa idealizes Curie’s features in the illustrations, portraying her as a sweet, smiling child with pale-white skin even in a final view (based on a famous photo) showing her sitting on a pile of books in a row of other great scientists—all of whom are, unsurprisingly, male and white. In the co-published Agatha Christie, illustrator Elisa Munsó at least lets her subject grow up but likewise (with rather more justice) leaves her among stacks of books after Sánchez Vegara’s generalized account of the author’s travels, detectives, and gift for plot twists. Both profiles close with photos, timelines, and afterwords that fill in some of the blanks.

Like other tributes in the series, adequate fare for cluing newer readers in on some worthy role models. (Picture book/biography. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-84780-962-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Dec. 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2017

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Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the...

ROSIE REVERE, ENGINEER

Rhymed couplets convey the story of a girl who likes to build things but is shy about it. Neither the poetry nor Rosie’s projects always work well.

Rosie picks up trash and oddments where she finds them, stashing them in her attic room to work on at night. Once, she made a hat for her favorite zookeeper uncle to keep pythons away, and he laughed so hard that she never made anything publicly again. But when her great-great-aunt Rose comes to visit and reminds Rosie of her own past building airplanes, she expresses her regret that she still has not had the chance to fly. Great-great-aunt Rose is visibly modeled on Rosie the Riveter, the iconic, red-bandanna–wearing poster woman from World War II. Rosie decides to build a flying machine and does so (it’s a heli-o-cheese-copter), but it fails. She’s just about to swear off making stuff forever when Aunt Rose congratulates her on her failure; now she can go on to try again. Rosie wears her hair swooped over one eye (just like great-great-aunt Rose), and other figures have exaggerated hairdos, tiny feet and elongated or greatly rounded bodies. The detritus of Rosie’s collections is fascinating, from broken dolls and stuffed animals to nails, tools, pencils, old lamps and possibly an erector set. And cheddar-cheese spray.

Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the right place. (historical note) (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4197-0845-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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Stirring encouragement for all “little people” with “big dreams.” (Picture book/biography. 5-7)

MAYA ANGELOU

From the Little People, BIG DREAMS series

“There’s nothing I can’t be,” young Maya thinks, and then shows, in this profile for newly independent readers, imported from Spain.

The inspirational message is conveyed through a fine skein of biographical details. It begins with her birth in St. Louis and the prejudice she experienced growing up in a small Arkansas town and closes with her reading of a poem “about her favorite thing: hope” at Bill Clinton’s presidential inauguration. In between, it mentions the (unspecified) “attack” by her mother’s boyfriend and subsequent elective muteness she experienced as a child, as well as some of the varied pursuits that preceded her eventual decision to become a writer. Kaiser goes on in a closing spread to recap Angelou’s life and career, with dates, beneath a quartet of portrait photos. Salaberria’s simple illustrations, filled with brown-skinned figures, are more idealized than photorealistic, but, though only in the cover image do they make direct contact with readers’, Angelou’s huge eyes are an effective focal point in each scene. The message is similar in the co-published Amelia Earhart, written by Ma Isabel Sánchez Vegara (and also translated by Pitt), but the pictures are more fanciful as illustrator Mariadiamantes endows the aviator with a mane of incandescent orange hair and sends her flying westward (in contradiction of the text and history) on her final around-the-world flight.

Stirring encouragement for all “little people” with “big dreams.” (Picture book/biography. 5-7)

Pub Date: July 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-84780-889-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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