THE EXTRAORDINARY MUSIC OF MR. IVES

THE TRUE STORY OF A FAMOUS AMERICAN COMPOSER

Young readers lucky enough to encounter both this book and Mordecai Gerstein’s What Charlie Heard (2002) may never again hear the sounds of the world around them in quite the same way—they may be listening for music.

The informing story for Stanbridge’s brief biographical account is the work that Charles Ives composed after the news of the sinking of the Lusitania reached New York City. Her gentle, full-color illustrations are rounded and appealing. The several wordless pages devoted to the sinking of the ocean liner are appropriately dramatic and scary, but they focus on a small girl rescued by a lifeboat and reunited with her mother. It is as if Charles Ives and his New York neighbors are seeing the events before their eyes, and this sequence serves to underscore their reaction of grieving astonishment. Ives’ From Hanover Square North, at the End of a Tragic Day, the Voice of the People Again Arose was first, and at long last, performed 13 years after Ives’ death. Stanbridge tells her young readers that as listeners came to know Ives’ music and as composers took inspiration from Ives’ ideas, the line of succession grew, all the way to John Adams’ 2002 concert, On the Transmigration of Souls, composed to remember the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, filled with the ordinary sounds of the city. Unthreatening despite its subject matter, yet impressively moving. (author’s note, source list, suggestions for further reading and listening). (Picture book/biography. 4-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 9, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-547-23866-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012

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A resplendent masterpiece.

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DREAMERS

Based on her experience of leaving Mexico for the United States, Morales’ latest offers an immigrant’s tale steeped in hope, dreams, and love.

This story begins with a union between mother and son, with arms outstretched in the midst of a new beginning. Soon after, mother and son step on a bridge, expansive “like the universe,” to cross to the other side, to become immigrants. An ethereal city appears, enfolded in fog. The brown-skinned woman and her child walk through this strange new land, unwilling to speak, unaccustomed to “words unlike those of our ancestors.” But soon their journey takes them to the most marvelous of places: the library. In a series of stunning double-page spreads, Morales fully captures the sheer bliss of discovery as their imaginations take flight. The vibrant, surreal mixed-media artwork, including Mexican fabric, metal sheets, “the comal where I grill my quesadillas,” childhood drawings, and leaves and plants, represents a spectacular culmination of the author’s work thus far. Presented in both English and Spanish editions (the latter in Teresa Mlawer’s translation), equal in evocative language, the text moves with purpose. No word is unnecessary, each a deliberate steppingstone onto the next. Details in the art provide cultural markers specific to the U.S., but the story ultimately belongs to one immigrant mother and her son. Thanks to books and stories (some of her favorites are appended), the pair find their voices as “soñadores of the world.”

A resplendent masterpiece. (author’s note) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4055-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Neal Porter/Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Aug. 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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A lyrical coming-of-age story in picture-book form that begs to be shared.

IMAGINE

Former Poet Laureate Herrera encourages his young readers to imagine all they might be in his new picture book.

Herrera’s free verse tells his own story, starting as a young boy who loves the plants and animals he finds outdoors in the California fields and is then thrust into the barren, concrete city. In the city he begins to learn to read and write, learning English and discovering a love for words and the way ink flows “like tiny rivers” across the page as he applies pen to paper. Words soon become sentences, poems, lyrics, and a means of escape. This love of the word ultimately leads him to make writing his vocation and to become the first Chicano Poet Laureate of the United States, an honor Herrera received in 2015. Through this story of hardship to success, expressed in a series of conditional statements that all begin “If I,” Herrera implores his readers to “imagine what you could do.” Castillo’s ink and foam monoprint illustrations are a tender accompaniment to Herrera’s verse, the black lines of her illustrations flowing across the page in rhythm with the author’s poetry. Together this makes for a charming read-aloud for groups or a child snuggled in a lap.

A lyrical coming-of-age story in picture-book form that begs to be shared. (Picture book/memoir. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9052-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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