Buoyantly told, rich in insights into the creative process as well as the crafts of writing, illustrating, and storytelling.

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IMAGINE THAT!

HOW DR. SEUSS WROTE THE CAT IN THE HAT

How a masterpiece was cooked up, with Green Eggs and Ham for dessert.

Breaking occasionally into verse herself—“Dr. Seuss, we insist! / Won’t you please write a book that no kid can resist? / P.S. Use the words on this No-Nonsense List”—Sierra explains how the author of Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose and other favorites put aside his love of made-up words for a set, 236-item vocabulary, spun a “whiz-bang story” out of the elemental rhyme of “cat” with “hat,” and after work followed by inspiration followed by more work released a classic. Nor did “Ted” stop there; he went on to pen and publish a whole line of early readers and also answered Bennett Cerf’s challenge to produce a tale using only 50 different words (“Could he? Would he?”) with another game-changer. Hawkes opens with an integrated 1954 street scene (“a great year to be a kid, unless you were trying to learn how to read”) and closes with hat tips from the Cat and Sam-I-Am. In between he shows the then–clean-shaven Geisel (sometimes in “outlandish” hats of his own) hard at work surrounded by fantastical creatures drawn in Seussian cartoon style and placed against more-realistic, painterly scenes. He plays his typewriter like a magisterial pipe organist in one picture and bears that distinctive elfin grin throughout. Notes from Sierra, Hawkes, and the master himself bring up the rear.

Buoyantly told, rich in insights into the creative process as well as the crafts of writing, illustrating, and storytelling. (book list) (Picture book/biography. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-553-51097-3

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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What makes one person step into danger to help others? A question worthy of discussion, with this title as an admirable...

THE BRAVE CYCLIST

THE TRUE STORY OF A HOLOCAUST HERO

An extraordinary athlete was also an extraordinary hero.

Gino Bartali grew up in Florence, Italy, loving everything about riding bicycles. After years of studying them and years of endurance training, he won the 1938 Tour de France. His triumph was muted by the outbreak of World War II, during which Mussolini followed Hitler in the establishment of anti-Jewish laws. In the middle years of the conflict, Bartali was enlisted by a cardinal of the Italian church to help Jews by becoming a document courier. His skill as a cyclist and his fame helped him elude capture until 1944. When the war ended, he kept his clandestine efforts private and went on to win another Tour de France in 1948. The author’s afterword explains why his work was unknown. Yad Vashem, the Israeli Holocaust museum, honored him as a Righteous Among the Nations in 2013. Bartali’s is a life well worth knowing and well worthy of esteem. Fedele’s illustrations in mostly dark hues will appeal to sports fans with their action-oriented scenes. Young readers of World War II stories will gain an understanding from the somber wartime pages.

What makes one person step into danger to help others? A question worthy of discussion, with this title as an admirable springboard. (photograph, select bibliography, source notes) (Picture book/biography. 7-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68446-063-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Capstone Editions

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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Gives readers a fresh and thrilling sense of what it took to make history.

A PLACE TO LAND

The backstory of a renowned address is revealed.

Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream Speech” is one of the most famous ever given, yet with this book, Wittenstein and Pinkney give young readers new insights into both the speech and the man behind it. When Dr. King arrived in Washington, D.C., for the 1963 March on Washington, the speech was not yet finished. He turned to his fellow civil rights leaders for advice, and after hours of listening, he returned to his room to compose, fine-tuning even the day of the march. He went on to deliver a powerful speech, but as he closed, he moved away from the prepared text and into a stirring sermon. “Martin was done circling. / The lecture was over. / He was going to church, / his place to land, / and taking a congregation / of two hundred and fifty thousand / along for the ride.” Although much hard work still lay ahead, the impact of Dr. King’s dramatic words and delivery elevated that important moment in the struggle for equal rights. Wittenstein’s free-verse narrative perfectly captures the tension leading up to the speech as each adviser urged his own ideas while remaining a supportive community. Pinkney’s trademark illustrations dramatize this and the speech, adding power and further illuminating the sense of historical importance.

Gives readers a fresh and thrilling sense of what it took to make history. (author’s note, lists of advisers and speakers, bibliography, source notes) (Informational picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4331-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Neal Porter/Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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