One of a rush of commemorations of Apollo 11’s semicentennial, but this is more about father-daughter intimacy than “One...

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PAPA PUT A MAN ON THE MOON

A child’s tribute to one of the thousands of blue-collar workers who have made the space program possible.

Though Dempsey looks back on family history in highlighting the small but significant contribution that her father and other workers in a South Carolina textile factory made by manufacturing one layer of spacesuit material, she holds off describing the technological feat or even placing it in historical context until her afterword. Instead, in all that comes before she mainly focuses on the admiration any child might feel for a hardworking dad. Thus, despite a climactic gathering before the TV to watch Walter Cronkite before Green cuts away to Neil Armstrong’s swaddled figure, there are no narrative details that bring either the times or specifics of work in the factory itself to life. When the child asks whether her father is proud to be part of a great endeavor he answers, “Only proud to make a living, Marthanne. Only proud to make a living.” Aside from dressing father and daughter in period clothing (when the latter isn’t visualizing herself floating in space), Green doesn’t do much to pick up the slack—one glimpse inside a factory furnished with vaguely drawn hand looms, an illegibly tiny labeled sketch of a spacesuit, and, later, a stack of old-time TVs as a tailpiece notwithstanding. Marthanne and her family are white; some group scenes include black background characters.

One of a rush of commemorations of Apollo 11’s semicentennial, but this is more about father-daughter intimacy than “One small step….” (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-7352-3074-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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Patchy work, both visually and teleologically.

YOU'RE HERE FOR A REASON

The sultana of high-fructose sentimentality reminds readers that they really are all that.

Despite the title, we’re actually here for a couple of reasons. In fulsome if vague language Tillman embeds one message, that acts of kindness “may triple for days… / or set things in motion in different ways,” in a conceptually separate proposition that she summarizes thus: “perhaps you forgot— / a piece of the world that is precious and dear / would surely be missing if you weren’t here.” Her illustrations elaborate on both themes in equally abstract terms: a lad releases a red kite that ends up a sled for fox kits, while its ribbons add decorative touches to bird nests and a moose before finally being vigorously twirled by a girl and (startlingly) a pair of rearing tigers. Without transition the focus then shifts as the kite is abruptly replaced by a red ball. Both embodied metaphors, plus children and animals, gather at the end for a closing circle dance. The illustrator lavishes attention throughout on figures of children and wild animals, which are depicted with such microscopically precise realism that every fine hair and feather is visible, but she then floats them slightly above hazy, generic backdrops. The overall design likewise has a slapdash feel, as some spreads look relatively crowded with verses while others bear only a single line or phrase.

Patchy work, both visually and teleologically. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-05626-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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The runt of the litter of print titles and websites covering the topic.

PRESIDENT ADAMS' ALLIGATOR

This tally of presidential pets reads like a school report (for all that the author is a journalist for Fox Business Network) and isn’t helped by its suite of amateurish illustrations.

Barnes frames the story with a teacher talking to her class and closes it with quizzes and a write-on “ballot.” Presidents from Washington to Obama—each paired to mentions of birds, dogs, livestock, wild animals and other White House co-residents—parade past in a rough, usually undated mix of chronological order and topical groupings. The text is laid out in monotonous blocks over thinly colored scenes that pose awkwardly rendered figures against White House floors or green lawns. In evident recognition that the presidents might be hard to tell apart, on some (but not enough) pages they carry identifying banners. The animals aren’t so differentiated; an unnamed goat that William Henry Harrison is pulling along with his cow Sukey in one picture looks a lot like one that belonged to Benjamin Harrison, and in some collective views, it’s hard to tell which animals go with which first family.

The runt of the litter of print titles and websites covering the topic. (bibliography, notes for adult readers) (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 18, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-62157-035-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Patriot Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 31, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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