Both a bubbly historical account of umbrellas and a lighthearted tale of embracing change.

JONAS HANWAY'S SCURRILOUS, SCANDALOUS, SHOCKINGLY SENSATIONAL UMBRELLA

Rebellion sometimes comes in surprising packages….

Umbrellas are considered perfectly acceptable and commonplace today, but in the 1750s in England—where “On some days, it drizzled. On others, it muzzled. On others, it pelted and showered and spat”—they were considered foolish and ridiculous. “It’s not what we do,” the people of London said, until a man named Jonas Hanway was inspired to keep dry by taking a stand and pulling out his own umbrella, much to the consternation of those around him. Lively and colorful watercolors combine with bouncing onomatopoeia and other wordplay to show the cranky Hanway, a man who disliked change yet hated rain so much he traveled around the world in search of a place where it didn’t exist. When he sees umbrellas in action in Persia, he falls in love. His use of the seemingly frivolous object eventually causes its adoption into genteel English society. This deceptively simple historical selection lightly touches on originality, innovation, xenophobia, and cultural sharing and change while explaining how perception and reality can conflict. In the 18th-century scenes, characters are depicted as white in England and with brown skin in Persia, but a scene of modern London is appropriately diverse (and rainy). Endnotes include a brief history of the umbrella.

Both a bubbly historical account of umbrellas and a lighthearted tale of embracing change. (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-62414-885-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Page Street

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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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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Just the ticket for an armchair outing to the red planet.

MARS! EARTHLINGS WELCOME

From the Our Universe series , Vol. 5

Good news! Planet Marvelous is looking forward to visitors from Planet Awesome.

With the same exuberance that propelled readers deep into her Ocean! Waves for All (2020), illustrated by David Litchfield, and its three predecessors in the Our Universe series, McAnulty looks to the next planet out for a fresh set of enticing natural wonders. Billing itself a “party planet” (“I want to be the FIRST planet with human guests”), the russet raconteur trumpets its unique attractions. These range from moons Deimos and Phobos (“I know Earth is totally jealous”) to Olympus Mons and Valles Marineris, which is “four times as deep as the Grand Canyon! And not nearly as crowded.” Sure, unlike Spirit, Opportunity, and other rovers, human visitors will have to pack their own water and oxygen in addition to traveling millions of miles…but given a few technological advances, soon enough it’ll be time to “get this party started!” Prospective tourists diverse of age and race are dancing already on Earth in a final scene in anticipation of a trip to our “reMARkable” neighbor. Quiz questions and a timeline cap an enticement that echoes Susanna Leonard Hill’s Mars’ First Friends: Come on Over, Rovers! (2020), illustrated by Elisa Paganelli, in its fizzy mix of fact and fancy. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at 75% of actual size.)

Just the ticket for an armchair outing to the red planet. (sources) (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-25688-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2020

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