A lively introduction to a whole new cast of heroines.

Women of the Broadway theater take center stage in this loving homage.

Past and present are represented, from Ethel Merman and Pearl Bailey to Kelli O’Hara and Audra McDonald. Several women whose great talent lit up the stage in one special play, such as Aida’s Heather Headley and Fela!’s Lilias White, are also given a place in this admiration society. They are introduced in alphabetical order, sometimes using first names, sometimes last names, and sometimes the parts they played. Steven Sondheim is given a nod for the substantive female characters he created, and Bob Fosse for his unique choreography that allowed multitalented displays. Each entry appears as a clever verse in four-line abcb form, honoring the star’s talent or highlighting a particular role for which she is most known. The verses are accompanied by Emmerich’s digital illustrations, which accurately capture the individuality and facial features of the performers as they joyously play to their audiences. Full names of the women and the titles and dates of the shows they are depicted in appear in very small white print at the bottoms of the pages. A double-page spread of thumbnail portraits includes 32 additional divas. Allman obviously loves these performers and wants young readers to get to know them, but most of these children will probably need an adult who is a Broadway aficionado to guide them and perhaps put some show music on their playlist.

A lively introduction to a whole new cast of heroines. (biographical information) (Informational picture book. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-64540-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019



Preposterous situations and farcical sound-alike sentences will elicit groans and giggles.

Homophones in versatile parallel sentences create absurd scenarios.

The pattern is simple but endlessly funny: Two sentences, each illustrated, sound the same but are differentiated by their use of homophones. On the verso of the opening spread a cartoon restaurant scene shows a diner lifting a plate of spaghetti and meatballs to a waiter who removes a dark hair from the plate of noodles: “The hair came forth.” (Both figures have brown skin.) Opposite, the scene shows a race with a tortoise at the finish line while a hare trails the tortoise, a snake, and a snail: “The hare came fourth.” The humorous line drawings feature an array of humans, animals, and monsters and provide support and context to the sentences, however bizarre they may seem. New vocabulary is constantly introduced, as is the idea that spelling and punctuation can alter meaning. Some pairings get quite sophisticated; others are rather forced. “The barred man looted the establishment. / The bard man luted the establishment” stretches the concept, paralleling barred with bard as adjectives and looted with luted as verbs. The former is an orange-jumpsuited White prisoner in a cell; the other, a brown-skinned musician strumming a lute for a racially diverse group of dancers. Poetic license may allow for luted, though the word lute is glaringly missing from the detailed glossary.

Preposterous situations and farcical sound-alike sentences will elicit groans and giggles. (Informational picture book. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-72820-659-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks eXplore

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020


A stimulating outing to the furthest reaches of our knowledge, certain to inspire deep thoughts.

From a Caldecott and Sibert honoree, an invitation to take a mind-expanding journey from the surface of our planet to the furthest reaches of the observable cosmos.

Though Chin’s assumption that we are even capable of understanding the scope of the universe is quixotic at best, he does effectively lead viewers on a journey that captures a sense of its scale. Following the model of Kees Boeke’s classic Cosmic View: The Universe in Forty Jumps (1957), he starts with four 8-year-old sky watchers of average height (and different racial presentations). They peer into a telescope and then are comically startled by the sudden arrival of an ostrich that is twice as tall…and then a giraffe that is over twice as tall as that…and going onward and upward, with ellipses at each page turn connecting the stages, past our atmosphere and solar system to the cosmic web of galactic superclusters. As he goes, precisely drawn earthly figures and features in the expansive illustrations give way to ever smaller celestial bodies and finally to glimmering swirls of distant lights against gulfs of deep black before ultimately returning to his starting place. A closing recap adds smaller images and additional details. Accompanying the spare narrative, valuable side notes supply specific lengths or distances and define their units of measure, accurately explain astronomical phenomena, and close with the provocative observation that “the observable universe is centered on us, but we are not in the center of the entire universe.”

A stimulating outing to the furthest reaches of our knowledge, certain to inspire deep thoughts. (afterword, websites, further reading) (Informational picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4623-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Neal Porter/Holiday House

Review Posted Online: April 11, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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