Not essential but a handsome tribute.

READ REVIEW

DR. SEUSS

THE GREAT DOODLER

For children who can read And To Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street without help, an account of its creator’s life and career.

Klimo teams up with the illustrators of Kathleen Krull’s The Boy on Fairfield Street (2004) to tell the same tale in (somewhat) simpler language. Opening with the news of his Pulitzer Prize win—“Not bad for a lifelong doodler!”—she follows “Ted” from birth on. It’s a lightweight chronicle that includes his youth and early career as a cartoonist, his personal and public lives, his major picture-book successes and breakthrough easy readers, and his work as the publisher of the Beginner Books imprint. Johnson and Fancher incorporate actual Seussian artwork into their golden-toned paintings, including some commercial work but not, happily, the now-discomfiting racial caricatures he drew during World War II when, as the author diplomatically puts it, he “poked fun at Hitler and Japan.” Along with views of the man himself at various ages, the illustrators include racially diverse groups of children and (something of a stretch) publishers raptly reading or listening. There is no bibliography, and the recent string of posthumous publications goes unmentioned. Still, newly independent readers will come away with a picture of the creative genius behind the Cat, the Grinch, and all that incomparable wordplay.

Not essential but a handsome tribute. (Early reader/biography. 5-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 26, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-101-93551-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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Stirring encouragement for all “little people” with “big dreams.” (Picture book/biography. 5-7)

MAYA ANGELOU

From the Little People, BIG DREAMS series

“There’s nothing I can’t be,” young Maya thinks, and then shows, in this profile for newly independent readers, imported from Spain.

The inspirational message is conveyed through a fine skein of biographical details. It begins with her birth in St. Louis and the prejudice she experienced growing up in a small Arkansas town and closes with her reading of a poem “about her favorite thing: hope” at Bill Clinton’s presidential inauguration. In between, it mentions the (unspecified) “attack” by her mother’s boyfriend and subsequent elective muteness she experienced as a child, as well as some of the varied pursuits that preceded her eventual decision to become a writer. Kaiser goes on in a closing spread to recap Angelou’s life and career, with dates, beneath a quartet of portrait photos. Salaberria’s simple illustrations, filled with brown-skinned figures, are more idealized than photorealistic, but, though only in the cover image do they make direct contact with readers’, Angelou’s huge eyes are an effective focal point in each scene. The message is similar in the co-published Amelia Earhart, written by Ma Isabel Sánchez Vegara (and also translated by Pitt), but the pictures are more fanciful as illustrator Mariadiamantes endows the aviator with a mane of incandescent orange hair and sends her flying westward (in contradiction of the text and history) on her final around-the-world flight.

Stirring encouragement for all “little people” with “big dreams.” (Picture book/biography. 5-7)

Pub Date: July 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-84780-889-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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Like other tributes in the series, adequate fare for cluing newer readers in on some worthy role models.

MARIE CURIE

From the Little People, BIG DREAMS series

A very first introduction to the great scientist.

Apparently more concerned with explaining why Marie Curie is worth knowing than compiling biographical details, Sánchez Vegara dispenses with most names and all dates to focus on achievements that reflect her subject’s intellect and character. Opening with Marie’s childhood vow to “be a scientist, not a princess” and her later move from her unnamed home country to become “the best math and science student in Paris,” the author highlights her marriage and Pierre’s “terrible accident,” her discoveries of radium and polonium (no explanation provided), her two Nobel Prizes, and how she helped injured soldiers in an unspecified way during a never-named war and afterward established an institute in Paris to further girls’ educations. Isa idealizes Curie’s features in the illustrations, portraying her as a sweet, smiling child with pale-white skin even in a final view (based on a famous photo) showing her sitting on a pile of books in a row of other great scientists—all of whom are, unsurprisingly, male and white. In the co-published Agatha Christie, illustrator Elisa Munsó at least lets her subject grow up but likewise (with rather more justice) leaves her among stacks of books after Sánchez Vegara’s generalized account of the author’s travels, detectives, and gift for plot twists. Both profiles close with photos, timelines, and afterwords that fill in some of the blanks.

Like other tributes in the series, adequate fare for cluing newer readers in on some worthy role models. (Picture book/biography. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-84780-962-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Dec. 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2017

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