PAPA AND THE PIONEER QUILT

Rebecca’s Papa has wandering feet. In the spring when he and the family set out for Oregon by wagon train, she doesn’t want to leave their Missouri farm, but her Mama said, “It’s his dream, we have to go.” Rebecca’s feet feel worn out before they even get to Kansas. A new bride, who often walks with Rebecca, carries a copper kettle filled with fabric scraps she’s saving for a quilt. As she shares the story of each fragment, Rebecca is inspired to collect her own pieces. Her first is her Grandma’s tear-stained handkerchief; next is a piece of Papa’s shirt from the time when he almost drowned in a river, then a friend’s sunbonnet. After the six-month trek, the last piece in Rebecca’s string bag is a piece of the dress she had worn every day of the arduous journey. Once settled in Oregon, her mother helps her sew the quilt in the “Wandering Foot” pattern. The quilt device is a nimble way of stitching together the episodes and human hardships of those who ventured west. Soft-edged acrylic illustrations convey a gentle perspective of the difficulties with the warm palette reflecting the courageous spirit of the pioneer family. (author’s note) (Picture book/historical fiction. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2007

ISBN: 0-8037-3028-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2007

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BECAUSE YOUR DADDY LOVES YOU

Give this child’s-eye view of a day at the beach with an attentive father high marks for coziness: “When your ball blows across the sand and into the ocean and starts to drift away, your daddy could say, Didn’t I tell you not to play too close to the waves? But he doesn’t. He wades out into the cold water. And he brings your ball back to the beach and plays roll and catch with you.” Alley depicts a moppet and her relaxed-looking dad (to all appearances a single parent) in informally drawn beach and domestic settings: playing together, snuggling up on the sofa and finally hugging each other goodnight. The third-person voice is a bit distancing, but it makes the togetherness less treacly, and Dad’s mix of love and competence is less insulting, to parents and children both, than Douglas Wood’s What Dads Can’t Do (2000), illus by Doug Cushman. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 23, 2005

ISBN: 0-618-00361-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2005

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A life devoted to freedom and dignity, worthy of praise and remembrance.

MUMBET'S DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE

With the words of Massachusetts colonial rebels ringing in her ears, a slave determines to win her freedom.

In 1780, Mumbet heard the words of the new Massachusetts constitution, including its declaration of freedom and equality. With the help of a young lawyer, she went to court and the following year, won her freedom, becoming Elizabeth Freeman. Slavery was declared illegal and subsequently outlawed in the state. Woelfle writes with fervor as she describes Mumbet’s life in the household of John Ashley, a rich landowner and businessman who hosted protest meetings against British taxation. His wife was abrasive and abusive, striking out with a coal shovel at a young girl, possibly Mumbet’s daughter. Mumbet deflected the blow and regarded the wound as “her badge of bravery.” Ironically, the lawyer who took her case, Theodore Sedgwick, had attended John Ashley’s meetings. Delinois’ full-bleed paintings are heroic in scale, richly textured and vibrant. Typography becomes part of the page design as the font increases when the text mentions freedom. Another slave in the Ashley household was named in the court case, but Woelfle, keeping her young audience in mind, keeps it simple, wisely focusing on Mumbet.

A life devoted to freedom and dignity, worthy of praise and remembrance. (author’s note, selected bibliography, further reading) (Picture book/biography. 5-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7613-6589-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Carolrhoda

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2013

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