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

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HER FEARLESS RUN

KATHRINE SWITZER’S HISTORIC BOSTON MARATHON

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. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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A galloping marvel—enlightening and entertaining.

DR. SEUSS'S HORSE MUSEUM

A succinct introduction to art history via a Seussian museum of equine art.

This posthumously published text recently discovered in Ted Geisel’s studio uses horse-focused art pieces to provide historical context to artistic movements. Showing art ranging from the Lascaux cave paintings to an untitled 1994 sculpture by Deborah Butterfield, Joyner’s playful illustrations surround the curated photographs of art pieces. By using horses as the departing point in the artistic journey, Seuss and Joyner are able to introduce diverse perspectives, artifacts, and media, including Harnessed Horse from the northern Wei dynasty, a Navajo pictorial blanket titled Oh, My Beautiful Horses, and photographs by Eadweard Muybridge. Questions to readers prompt thought about the artistic concepts introduced, aided by a cast of diverse museumgoers who demonstrate the art terms in action. Joyner further engages readers by illustrating both general cultural and Seussian references. Glimpses of the Cat in the Hat are seen throughout the book; he poses as a silent observer, genially guarding Seuss’ legacy. For art enthusiasts, some illustrations become an inside joke, as references to artists such as Alexander Calder, Salvador Dalí, Marina Abramovic, and René Magritte make appearances. Thorough backmatter contains notes on each art piece referenced along with a study of the manuscript’s history and Seuss’ artistic style. Absent, probably unsurprisingly, is any acknowledgment of the Cat’s antecedents in minstrelsy and Seuss’ other racist work, but prominent among the museumgoers are black- and Asian-presenting characters as well as a girl wearing hijab and a child who uses a wheelchair.

A galloping marvel—enlightening and entertaining. (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-399-55912-9

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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An apt choice for collections that already have stronger alternatives, such as R.J. Palacio's Wonder (2012).

UGLY

A memoir of the first 14 years in the life of Australian Robert Hoge, born with stunted legs and a tumor in the middle of his face.

In 1972, Robert is born, the youngest of five children, with fishlike eyes on the sides of his face, a massive lump in place of his nose, and malformed legs. As baby Robert is otherwise healthy, the doctors convince his parents to approve the first of many surgeries to reduce his facial difference. One leg is also amputated, and Robert comes home to his everyday white, working-class family. There's no particular theme to the tale of Robert's next decade and a half: he experiences school and teasing, attempts to participate in sports, and is shot down by a girl. Vignette-driven choppiness and the lack of an overarching narrative would make the likeliest audience be those who seek disability stories. However, young Robert's ongoing quest to identify as "normal"—a quest that remains unchanged until a sudden turnaround on the penultimate page—risks alienating readers comfortable with their disabilities. Brief lyrical moments ("as compulsory as soggy tomato sandwiches at snack time") appeal but are overwhelmed by the dry, distant prose dominating this autobiography.

An apt choice for collections that already have stronger alternatives, such as R.J. Palacio's Wonder (2012). (Memoir. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-425-28775-0

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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