A heartwarming story, if a bit short on cuddles.

TEDDY

THE REMARKABLE TALE OF A PRESIDENT, A CARTOONIST, A TOYMAKER AND A BEAR

A fictionalized biography of “one of the most endearing companions of modern times.”

On a trip to Mississippi, President Theodore Roosevelt went hunting, but the only bear he came across was “one scruffy, no-account cub,” and the president certainly couldn’t shoot it. “I’d never be able to look my children in the eyes again!” But even though T.R. didn’t snag a bear, the newspapers got a story, and the Washington Post ran a Clifford Berryman cartoon that got the attention of Morris and Rose Michtom, who owned a little novelty shop in Brooklyn. To honor the president’s “big warm heart,” Mrs. Michtom created a bear sewn together out of scrap materials. She stuffed it with fine wood shavings, sewed on shoe buttons for eyes, and stitched a little black nose with darning thread. They placed “Teddy’s Bear” in the shop window, and soon it seemed as if everyone in America was buying teddy bears. “I think the reason kids love teddy bears so much is that they’re so darn cuddly,” said Mr. Michtom. However, the digitally rendered illustrations of the bears make them seem more flat and untextured than cuddly. Otherwise, though, the match of cartoonish illustrations and clear text works well in creating a solid, upbeat account. The author’s note mostly retells the story and discusses where “pleasant speculation” was blended with the factual record. Characters depicted all seem to be white.

A heartwarming story, if a bit short on cuddles. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-77138-795-8

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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A larger-than-life subject is neatly captured in text and images.

THURGOOD

The life journey of the first African American to serve on the United States Supreme Court and the incidents that formed him.

Thurgood Marshall grew up in segregated Baltimore, Maryland, with a family that encouraged him to stand for justice. Despite attending poor schools, he found a way to succeed. His father instilled in him a love of the law and encouraged him to argue like a lawyer during dinner conversations. His success in college meant he could go to law school, but the University of Maryland did not accept African American students. Instead, Marshall went to historically black Howard University, where he was mentored by civil rights lawyer Charles Houston. Marshall’s first major legal case was against the law school that denied him a place, and his success brought him to the attention of the NAACP and ultimately led to his work on the groundbreaking Brown v. Board of Education, which itself led to his appointment to the Supreme Court. This lively narrative serves as an introduction to the life of one of the country’s important civil rights figures. Important facts in Marshall’s life are effectively highlighted in an almost staccato fashion. The bold watercolor-and-collage illustrations, beginning with an enticing cover, capture and enhance the strong tone set by the words.

A larger-than-life subject is neatly captured in text and images. (author’s note, photos) (Picture book/biography. 5-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6533-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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Self-serving to be sure but also chock-full of worthy values and sentiments.

SUPERHEROES ARE EVERYWHERE

The junior senator from California introduces family and friends as everyday superheroes.

The endpapers are covered with cascades of, mostly, early childhood snapshots (“This is me contemplating the future”—caregivers of toddlers will recognize that abstracted look). In between, Harris introduces heroes in her life who have shaped her character: her mom and dad, whose superpowers were, respectively, to make her feel special and brave; an older neighbor known for her kindness; grandparents in India and Jamaica who “[stood] up for what’s right” (albeit in unspecified ways); other relatives and a teacher who opened her awareness to a wider world; and finally iconic figures such as Thurgood Marshall and Constance Baker Motley who “protected people by using the power of words and ideas” and whose examples inspired her to become a lawyer. “Heroes are…YOU!” she concludes, closing with a bulleted Hero Code and a timeline of her legal and political career that ends with her 2017 swearing-in as senator. In group scenes, some of the figures in the bright, simplistic digital illustrations have Asian features, some are in wheelchairs, nearly all are people of color. Almost all are smiling or grinning. Roe provides everyone identified as a role model with a cape and poses the author, who is seen at different ages wearing an identifying heart pin or decoration, next to each.

Self-serving to be sure but also chock-full of worthy values and sentiments. (Picture book/memoir. 5-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-984837-49-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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