A deeply felt if sketchy companion for Eve Bunting’s The Wall, illustrated by Ronald Himler (1990), or the plethora of...

ROLLING THUNDER

A tribute to the massive annual motorcycle rally in Washington, D.C., that honors our country’s veterans.

Fittingly for an event that is all about remembering, Ruth’s illustrations depict hazy, often translucent figures riding through misty golden light past the towering statue of Abraham Lincoln to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. A white child narrates in terse rhyme: “Grandpa rides for Joe and Tom, / friends he lost in Vietnam.” Traveling to rendezvous with Grandpa by train, the narrator adds, “our trip is for Uncle Zach, / flying airplanes far away. / His picture rides with me today.” Dressed in camo and riding in the grizzled grandfather’s sidecar, the child reaches the wall, where they “Leave a single flower. Kneel. / Names in charcoal. Cry. And heal.” Then at day’s end it’s time to ride again, with “Whispered wishes. Come home soon.” Only a quick mention of “POWs, MIAs” acknowledges that they are the event’s chief focus (or at least the focus of its organizers). More troublingly, in the art almost all of the visible faces, both of riders and in the background crowds, are white.

A deeply felt if sketchy companion for Eve Bunting’s The Wall, illustrated by Ronald Himler (1990), or the plethora of introductions to the Memorial Day holiday. (afterword) (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 25, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-545-47012-4

Page Count: -

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

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Patchy work, both visually and teleologically.

YOU'RE HERE FOR A REASON

The sultana of high-fructose sentimentality reminds readers that they really are all that.

Despite the title, we’re actually here for a couple of reasons. In fulsome if vague language Tillman embeds one message, that acts of kindness “may triple for days… / or set things in motion in different ways,” in a conceptually separate proposition that she summarizes thus: “perhaps you forgot— / a piece of the world that is precious and dear / would surely be missing if you weren’t here.” Her illustrations elaborate on both themes in equally abstract terms: a lad releases a red kite that ends up a sled for fox kits, while its ribbons add decorative touches to bird nests and a moose before finally being vigorously twirled by a girl and (startlingly) a pair of rearing tigers. Without transition the focus then shifts as the kite is abruptly replaced by a red ball. Both embodied metaphors, plus children and animals, gather at the end for a closing circle dance. The illustrator lavishes attention throughout on figures of children and wild animals, which are depicted with such microscopically precise realism that every fine hair and feather is visible, but she then floats them slightly above hazy, generic backdrops. The overall design likewise has a slapdash feel, as some spreads look relatively crowded with verses while others bear only a single line or phrase.

Patchy work, both visually and teleologically. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-05626-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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Rappaport makes this long struggle palpable and relevant, while Faulkner adds a winning mix of gravitas and high spirits.

ELIZABETH STARTED ALL THE TROUBLE

Rappaport examines the salient successes and raw setbacks along the 144-year-long road between the nation’s birth and women’s suffrage.

This lively yet forthright narrative pivots on a reality that should startle modern kids: women’s right to vote was only achieved in 1920, 72 years after Elizabeth Cady Stanton organized the first Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, New York. Indeed, time’s passage figures as a textual motif, connecting across decades such determined women as Stanton, Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, and Lucy Stone. They spoke tirelessly, marched, organized, and got arrested. Rappaport includes events such as 1913’s Women’s Suffrage Parade in Washington, D.C., but doesn’t shy from divisive periods like the Civil War. Faulkner’s meticulously researched gouache-and-ink illustrations often infuse scenes with humor by playing with size and perspective. As Stanton and Lucretia Mott sail into London in 1840 for the World Anti-Slavery Conference, Faulkner depicts the two women as giants on the ship’s upper deck. On the opposite page, as they learn they’ll be barred as delegates, they’re painted in miniature, dwarfed yet unflappable beneath a gallery full of disapproving men. A final double-page spread mingles such modern stars as Shirley Chisholm and Sonia Sotomayor amid the historical leaders.

Rappaport makes this long struggle palpable and relevant, while Faulkner adds a winning mix of gravitas and high spirits. (biographical thumbnails, chronology, sources, websites, further reading, author’s note) (Picture book/biography. 6-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7868-5142-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2015

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