ABE LINCOLN

THE BOY WHO LOVED BOOKS

In a moving tribute to the power of books and words, Winters (But Mom, Everyone Else Does, p. 1239, etc.) introduces a young backwoods child who watched “peddlers, pioneers, / politicians, traders, slaves / pass by,” down the old Cumberland Trail, until “his ideas stretched. / His questions rose. / His dreams were stirred”—and he was caught with a love of learning that carried him “from the wilderness / to the White House.” In a mix of vignettes and larger scenes, Carpenter (A Far-Fetched Story, 2002, etc.) plants her lanky lad, generally with book in hand, amid a variety of rustic and early American scenes as he passes from infant to president. Using strong, economical language, Winter recounts selected incidents from Lincoln’s life that point up several aspects of his character, sums up her thesis at the end (“He learned the power of words / and used them well”), then closes with a supplemental afterword that does not, unlike Amy Cohn’s Abraham Lincoln (2002), misrepresent the Emancipation Proclamation. For bookish young readers in search of a role model, here’s the best one since Jean Fritz introduced St. Columba in The Man Who Loved Books (1981). (Picture book/biography. 7-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-689-82554-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2002

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

BEATRIX

VARIOUS EPISODES FROM THE LIFE OF BEATRIX POTTER

Winter follows up Emily Dickinson’s Letters to the World (p. 111) with a similarly evocative character portrait, pairing small, formal, closely-framed portraits of Beatrix Potter—at various ages, and usually in the company of small animals, as she so often was—with a first person narrative into which she folds Potter’s own words (set off in italics). The general tone is grave, often melancholy: “No one has time for me. I talk to the birds, who have the time.” Reflecting the loneliness of her childhood, Potter’s face is the only human one to be seen (with a single, late exception), and an occasional slight smile is the only outward sign of her inner pleasure at drawing, photographing, or just being with her many animal friends. Winter traces Potter’s burgeoning interest in observing and recording the natural world, covers the genesis of The Tale of Peter Rabbit, and closes with a “happily-ever-after” image of rabbits and fairies dancing in the dooryard of the farm where Potter spent her last decades. “I live so much out of the world,” she ruefully averred, but, just as her works have helped to connect generations of children to the natural one, so will this diminutive keepsake bring her private one into focus. (Picture book/biography. 7-9)

Pub Date: March 4, 2003

ISBN: 0-374-30655-9

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Frances Foster/Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2002

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more