Parents and (more likely) grandparents who want to introduce children to their favorite band would do better to play a song...

READ REVIEW

THE BEATLES WERE FAB

(AND THEY WERE FUNNY)

Many adult readers will agree wholeheartedly with the title of this heartfelt paean to the Fab Four, but unfortunately, Krull and Brewer don’t quite manage to offer enough evidence to effectively convey to children the Beatles’ unique appeal and immense contributions to pop culture.

The narrative is straightforward. From their early years in Liverpool through their first big hit, the rapturous response they received in the U.S. and their eventual decision to go their separate ways, the trajectory of the Beatles’ incredible success is clearly plotted. Quirky details suggest that serious research informs the text. Unfortunately some sweeping statements may leave young listeners wondering just why the Beatles were considered “so cool, so funny, so fab.” Innerst’s accomplished acrylic-and-ink illustrations also seem more geared toward nostalgic adults. Exaggerated features and odd perspectives abound. Visual jokes and references enrich the paintings and extend the text, as when the band appears on a roller coaster formed by a guitar case plastered with stickers, but will almost certainly go over the heads of the intended audience.

Parents and (more likely) grandparents who want to introduce children to their favorite band would do better to play a song or two on whatever device is handy—though as Brewer and Krull note, the transformative impact of the Beatles was such that kids may not even recognize the originality of their music. (Informational picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: May 14, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-547-50991-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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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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A crisp historical vignette.

BEN'S REVOLUTION

BENJAMIN RUSSELL AND THE BATTLE OF BUNKER HILL

A boy experiences the Boston Tea Party, the response to the Intolerable Acts, and the battle at Breed’s Hill in Charlestown.

Philbrick has taken his Bunker Hill (2013), pulled from its 400 pages the pivotal moments, added a 12-year-old white boy—Benjamin Russell—as the pivot, and crafted a tale of what might have happened to him during those days of unrest in Boston from 1773 to 1775 (Russell was a real person). Philbrick explains, in plainspoken but gradually accelerating language, the tea tax, the Boston Tea Party, the Intolerable Acts, and the quartering of troops in Boston as well as the institution of a military government. Into this ferment, he introduces Benjamin Russell, where he went to school, his part-time apprenticeship at Isaiah Thomas’ newspaper, sledding down Beacon Hill, and the British officer who cleaned the cinders from the snow so the boys could sled farther and farther. It is these humanizing touches that make war its own intolerable act. Readers see Benjamin, courtesy of Minor’s misty gouache-and-watercolor tableaux, as he becomes stranded outside Boston Neck and becomes a clerk for the patriots. Significant characters are introduced, as is the geography of pre-landfilled Boston, to gain a good sense of why certain actions took place where they did. The final encounter at Breed’s Hill demonstrates how a battle can be won by retreating.

A crisp historical vignette. (maps, author’s note, illustrator’s note) (Historical fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: May 23, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-399-16674-7

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 14, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2017

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