MISS LADY BIRD’S WILDFLOWERS

HOW A FIRST LADY CHANGED AMERICA

This warmly attractive volume tells a graceful braid of stories: the life of Lady Bird Johnson, the wife of a president; the tale of a lonely child who found solace in the landscape and flora of east Texas; and the work of a First Lady who sought to bring beauty of the wilder sort into the highways of America. Lady Bird grew up in a rich and privileged household, but she lost her mother before she was six. She went to college—unusual for a woman in 1930—and there met and married Lyndon, following him on a political trajectory that led to Congress, the vice-presidency and then to president after the assassination of John F. Kennedy. She filled Washington with more cherry trees and with the daffodils she had loved as a child and urged the passing of the Highway Beautification Act. Now, more than 30 years later, interstate highways are free of junkyards and an endless procession of signs; instead, the native wildflowers Lady Bird loves are growing everywhere. Hein’s delicate pictures are in bright, clear colors and her flowers instantly recognizable in broad vistas and intimate close-ups. (author’s notes, endnotes, bibliography including Web sites) (Picture book/biography. 6-9)

Pub Date: March 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-06-001107-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2005

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26 FAIRMOUNT AVENUE

            The legions of fans who over the years have enjoyed dePaola’s autobiographical picture books will welcome this longer gathering of reminiscences.  Writing in an authentically childlike voice, he describes watching the new house his father was building go up despite a succession of disasters, from a brush fire to the hurricane of 1938.  Meanwhile, he also introduces family, friends, and neighbors, adds Nana Fall River to his already well-known Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs, remembers his first day of school (“ ‘ When do we learn to read?’  I asked.  ‘Oh, we don’t learn how to read in kindergarten.  We learn to read next year, in first grade.’  ‘Fine,’ I said.  ‘I’ll be back next year.’  And I walked right out of school.”), recalls holidays, and explains his indignation when the plot of Disney’s “Snow White” doesn’t match the story he knows.  Generously illustrated with vignettes and larger scenes, this cheery, well-knit narrative proves that an old dog can learn new tricks, and learn them surpassingly well.  (Autobiography.  7-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-399-23246-X

Page Count: 58

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1999

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THE FANTASTIC UNDERSEA LIFE OF JACQUES COUSTEAU

This second early biography of Cousteau in a year echoes Jennifer Berne’s Manfish: A Story of Jacques Cousteau (2008), illustrated by Eric Puybaret, in offering visuals that are more fanciful than informational, but also complements it with a focus less on the early life of the explorer and eco-activist than on his later inventions and achievements. In full-bleed scenes that are often segmented and kaleidoscopic, Yaccarino sets his hook-nosed subject amid shoals of Impressionistic fish and other marine images, rendered in multiple layers of thinly applied, imaginatively colored paint. His customarily sharp, geometric lines take on the wavy translucence of undersea shapes with a little bit of help from the airbrush. Along with tracing Cousteau’s undersea career from his first, life-changing, pair of goggles and the later aqualung to his minisub Sea Flea, the author pays tribute to his revolutionary film and TV work, and his later efforts to call attention to the effects of pollution. Cousteau’s enduring fascination with the sea comes through clearly, and can’t help sparking similar feelings in readers. (chronology, source list) (Picture book/biography. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 24, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-375-85573-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2009

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