This book belongs in any child’s hands.

LATINITAS

CELEBRATING 40 BIG DREAMERS

Celebrates the lives of 40 women who hail from all over Latin America and from the United States and who dreamed big and worked hard to follow their passion.

They are presented in chronological order, starting in 1651 with writer and philosopher Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz from Mexico and concluding with present-day U.S. Olympic gymnast Lauren Zoe Hernandez. Young readers will find artists, writers, poets, singers, musicians, dancers, engineers, astronauts, scientists, activists, a soccer star, a spy, and a Supreme Court justice, among others. The women represent different nationalities, ethnicities, races, cultural, and economic backgrounds, and life paths followed, but they are all highly successful role models that will inspire young children to follow their own dreams. Each minibiography appears in a double-page spread, with a charming illustration on the verso and the text on the recto. Capturing some essential quality for each person, the earth-toned, contemporary-feeling graphic illustrations have a folk-art sensibility. The biographies are meant to provide but a glimpse into the life of each person. The author thoughtfully connects with her reading audience by including childhood events and influences that sparked lifelong pursuits—hence the diminutive used in the title of the book. A further 10 women are introduced in the backmatter, with a small portrait and sentence of explanation. There is a sprinkling of Spanish words throughout the text; though there is no glossary included, readers unfamiliar with the language should have no problem understanding.

This book belongs in any child’s hands. (selected sources) (Collective biography. 8-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-23462-9

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Godwin Books/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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At its best when the emphasis is on the skill and artistry of Mime’s most accomplished practitioner—alas, too much of the...

MARCEL MARCEAU

MASTER OF MIME

The legendary mime is introduced to a new generation, though not entirely successfully.

As a child, Marceau loved to silently entertain his friends, like his idol, Charlie Chaplin. During the Nazi occupation of France, Marcel and his brother took on new identities in the French Underground, where they forged documents for Jewish children and helped many to escape to Switzerland. Spielman assumes that her young audience will understand references to deportation and concentration camps; unfortunately for those that don't, her matter-of-fact tone speaks more of adventure than deadly peril. Her tone subtly changes when she lovingly describes Marceau’s training and development as a mime and his stage persona of Bip the clown, admiring his skills in the “art of silence” that won him international renown. But here too, comparisons to the Little Tramp and Pierrot may be outside readers’ frame of reference. Though the illustrations carefully complement the textual content with period details, Gauthier’s cartoon faces are all nearly identical, with only the screen image of Chaplin and Marceau’s Bip having distinctive features. A double-page spread at the conclusion provides photographs of Bip in action and is the only clear indication of Marceau’s stagecraft.

At its best when the emphasis is on the skill and artistry of Mime’s most accomplished practitioner—alas, too much of the book looks elsewhere. (Picture book/biography. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-7613-3961-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kar-Ben

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2011

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WALT DISNEY

DRAWN FROM IMAGINATION

A squeaky-clean biography of the original Mouseketeer.

Scollon begins with the (to say the least) arguable claim that Disney grew up to “define and shape what would come to be known as the American Century.” Following this, he retraces Disney’s life and career, characterizing him as a visionary whose only real setbacks came from excess ambition or at the hands of unscrupulous film distributors. Disney’s brother Roy appears repeatedly to switch between roles as encourager and lead doubter, but except in chapters covering his childhood, the rest of his family only puts in occasional cameos. Unsurprisingly, there is no mention of Disney’s post–World War II redbaiting, and his most controversial film, Song of the South, gets only a single reference (and that with a positive slant). More puzzling is the absence of Mary Poppins from the tally of Disney triumphs. Still, readers will come away with a good general picture of the filmmaking and animation techniques that Disney pioneered, as well as a highlight history of his studio, television work and amusement parks. Discussion questions are appended: “What do you think were Walt Disney’s greatest accomplishments and why?” Brown’s illustrations not seen. An iconic success story that has often been told before but rarely so one-dimensionally or with such firm adherence to the company line. (bibliography) (Biography. 8-10)

 

Pub Date: July 15, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9647-1

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Disney Press

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2014

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