Readers will want to pore over this thoroughly engaging volume.



From poor, blond boy to the King of Rock ’n’ Roll, Elvis Presley lived the classic rags-to-riches storybook life.

According to Winter’s heightened, poetic narrative, “singing is the reason / Elvis was brought into this world” and became the means by which he transcended his impoverished beginnings. He grew up singing in church, at the county fair, in the classroom with the guitar his mama had bought him, and, after the family moved to Memphis, in the high school talent show. Dyeing his hair black and donning colorful outfits from secondhand stores, Elvis developed a “LOOK AT ME” persona and dreamed of becoming “the biggest star in the world.” Stylized, information-packed narration broken into single-page “chapters” provides the platform for Red Nose Studio’s (aka Chris Sickels) eye-grabbing art. Information included inside the book jacket shows how he builds small, theaterlike sets from cardboard, wire, fabric, and found objects and characters’ heads out of polymer clay, then photographs them from various perspectives—from feet under a table in a diner to Elvis and his girlfriend sitting on a neon sign above the city. Illustrations reflect Elvis’ segregated South, the white boy’s African-American influences confined to one image of a black church and another of bluesmen on Beale Street. This story is all about his rise; the decline and ignominious end are omitted, even in the author’s note.

Readers will want to pore over this thoroughly engaging volume. (Picture book/biography. 5-10)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-399-55470-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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Sage, soothing ideas for a busy, loud, sometimes-divisive world.


In an inviting picture book, Chelsea and Hillary Clinton share personal revelations on how gardening with a grandmother, a mother, and children shapes and nurtures a love and respect for nature, beauty, and a general philosophy for life.

Grandma Dorothy, the former senator, secretary of state, and presidential candidate’s mother, loved gardens, appreciating the multiple benefits they yielded for herself and her family. The Clinton women reminisce about their beloved forebear and all she taught them in a color-coded, alternating text, blue for Chelsea and green for Hillary. Via brief yet explicit remembrances, they share what they learned, observed, and most of all enjoyed in gardens with her. Each double-page spread culminates in a declarative statement set in italicized red text invoking Dorothy’s wise words. Gardens can be many things: places for celebration, discovery and learning, vehicles for teaching responsibility in creating beauty, home to wildlife large and small, a place to share stories and develop memories. Though operating from very personal experience rooted in class privilege, the mother-daughter duo mostly succeeds in imparting a universally significant message: Whether visiting a public garden or working in the backyard, generations can cultivate a lasting bond. Lemniscates uses an appropriately floral palette to evoke the gardens explored by these three white women. A Spanish edition, Los jardines de la abuela, publishes simultaneously; Teresa Mlawer’s translation is fluid and pleasing, in at least one case improving on the original.

Sage, soothing ideas for a busy, loud, sometimes-divisive world. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 31, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-11535-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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An inspiring introduction to the young Nobel Peace Prize winner and a useful conversation starter


The latest of many picture books about the young heroine from Pakistan, this one is narrated by Malala herself, with a frame that is accessible to young readers.

Malala introduces her story using a television show she used to watch about a boy with a magic pencil that he used to get himself and his friends out of trouble. Readers can easily follow Malala through her own discovery of troubles in her beloved home village, such as other children not attending school and soldiers taking over the village. Watercolor-and-ink illustrations give a strong sense of setting, while gold ink designs overlay Malala’s hopes onto her often dreary reality. The story makes clear Malala’s motivations for taking up the pen to tell the world about the hardships in her village and only alludes to the attempt on her life, with a black page (“the dangerous men tried to silence me. / But they failed”) and a hospital bracelet on her wrist the only hints of the harm that came to her. Crowds with signs join her call before she is shown giving her famous speech before the United Nations. Toward the end of the book, adult readers may need to help children understand Malala’s “work,” but the message of holding fast to courage and working together is powerful and clear.

An inspiring introduction to the young Nobel Peace Prize winner and a useful conversation starter . (Picture book/memoir. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-31957-7

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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