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HER FEARLESS RUN

KATHRINE SWITZER’S HISTORIC BOSTON MARATHON

Fearless indeed. A biography that goes the distance! (author’s note, women and the Boston Marathon, bibliography) (Picture...

Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to run the Boston Marathon as an officially registered runner, is highlighted in this debut for both author and illustrator.

Each time she races past the tree in her backyard, 12-year-old Kathrine marks its trunk with chalk to record her laps. “One lap to go…just a few more feet…a few steps…1 MILE!” Though she’s proud of her accomplishment, other people stare or wonder if something is wrong, because girls aren’t supposed to sport. But for Kathrine, “running [is] magic.” As she grows up, she continues to challenge her physical limits. Yet despite her running prowess, society still believes women are “too weak, too fragile,” to compete. However, no rules bar women from running the Boston Marathon, so Switzer signs up for the race. As if training weren’t difficult enough, what Switzer encounters during the 26.2 miles will take more than passion and endurance for her to finish. Readers eager to chase down biographies that feel like stories will appreciate how this book achieves that expectation. Chaffee’s text balances thorough research with strong prose that breaks through the wall that stops some nonfiction in its tracks. Additionally, Rooney’s collagelike paint, paper, and pencil illustrations are rich in texture and vibrant in color, capturing both the motion of running and emotion of persevering. They include some people of color to background the mostly white primary cast.

Fearless indeed. A biography that goes the distance! (author’s note, women and the Boston Marathon, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 6-12)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-62414-654-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Page Street

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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BASKETBALL DREAMS

Blandly inspirational fare made to evoke equally shrink-wrapped responses.

An NBA star pays tribute to the influence of his grandfather.

In the same vein as his Long Shot (2009), illustrated by Frank Morrison, this latest from Paul prioritizes values and character: “My granddad Papa Chilly had dreams that came true,” he writes, “so maybe if I listen and watch him, / mine will too.” So it is that the wide-eyed Black child in the simply drawn illustrations rises early to get to the playground hoops before anyone else, watches his elder working hard and respecting others, hears him cheering along with the rest of the family from the stands during games, and recalls in a prose afterword that his grandfather wasn’t one to lecture but taught by example. Paul mentions in both the text and the backmatter that Papa Chilly was the first African American to own a service station in North Carolina (his presumed dream) but not that he was killed in a robbery, which has the effect of keeping the overall tone positive and the instructional content one-dimensional. Figures in the pictures are mostly dark-skinned. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Blandly inspirational fare made to evoke equally shrink-wrapped responses. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-250-81003-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2022

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I AM WALT DISNEY

From the Ordinary People Change the World series

Blandly laudatory.

The iconic animator introduces young readers to each “happy place” in his life.

The tally begins with his childhood home in Marceline, Missouri, and climaxes with Disneyland (carefully designed to be “the happiest place on Earth”), but the account really centers on finding his true happy place, not on a map but in drawing. In sketching out his early flubs and later rocket to the top, the fictive narrator gives Ub Iwerks and other Disney studio workers a nod (leaving his labor disputes with them unmentioned) and squeezes in quick references to his animated films, from Steamboat Willie to Winnie the Pooh (sans Fantasia and Song of the South). Eliopoulos incorporates stills from the films into his cartoon illustrations and, characteristically for this series, depicts Disney as a caricature, trademark mustache in place on outsized head even in childhood years and child sized even as an adult. Human figures default to white, with occasional people of color in crowd scenes and (ahistorically) in the animation studio. One unidentified animator builds up the role-modeling with an observation that Walt and Mickey were really the same (“Both fearless; both resourceful”). An assertion toward the end—“So when do you stop being a child? When you stop dreaming”—muddles the overall follow-your-bliss message. A timeline to the EPCOT Center’s 1982 opening offers photos of the man with select associates, rodent and otherwise. An additional series entry, I Am Marie Curie, publishes simultaneously, featuring a gowned, toddler-sized version of the groundbreaking physicist accepting her two Nobel prizes.

Blandly laudatory. (bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-7352-2875-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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