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The impish Faulkner (The Monster Who Ate My Peas, 2001, etc.) illustrates this rousing account of Sarah Hale’s campaign to make Thanksgiving a national holiday with crowds of caricatured celebrants in buckskins, football equipment, and every style of dress in between. (“Thanksgiving Canceled—No Football Today.”) Anderson (Catalyst, p. 1300, etc.), in a really silly mood, tells the tale with wide open theatricality: trumpeting, “WE ALMOST LOST . . . THANKSGIVING!” across a spread of dismayed diners and relieved looking turkeys, she introduces “a dainty little lady” as the holiday’s champion. An unlikely hero? “Never underestimate dainty little ladies,” the author warns, launching into a portrait of a 19th-century supermom—novelist, educator, magazine editor, widowed mother of five, eloquent supporter of many social causes and, yes, author of “Mary Had a Little Lamb”—who took on four Presidents in succession before finding one, Lincoln, who agreed with her that Thanksgiving, which had been largely a northeastern holiday, should be celebrated nationwide. “When folks started to ignore Thanksgiving, well, that just curdled her gravy.” Dishing up a closing “Feast of Facts” about the day and the woman, Anderson offers readers both an indomitable role model and a memorable, often hilarious glimpse into the historical development of this country’s common culture. Thank you, Anderson and Faulkner. (bibliography of sources) (Picture book/biography. 6-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-689-84787-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2002

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In first-person voice, Aldrin highlights points from his childhood that led to his dream of being an astronaut and making the historic moon landing. Coincidental details like his mother’s maiden name, “Moon,” and his favorite movie hero, the “Lone Ranger,” suggest clues to his destiny. After West Point, he joined the Air Force because “he wanted to fly more than anything.” Minor’s usual beautiful and realistic illustrations effectively convey spatial perspectives and movement, adding depth to the narrative. However, the cover design and type layout are confusing, indicative of a biography instead of an autobiography—a brief intro could have clarified it. Aldrin’s message in an author’s note avows, “If you set your sights high, you may accomplish more than you ever dreamed.” Pair this with Don Brown’s One Giant Step for a child’s-eye view on space exploration. (Flight/space exploration chronology) (Picture book/biography. 6-9)

Pub Date: June 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-06-055445-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2005

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Spinning lively invented details around skimpy historical records, Taylor profiles the 19th-century chef credited with inventing the potato chip. Crum, thought to be of mixed Native-American and African-American ancestry, was a lover of the outdoors, who turned cooking skills learned from a French hunter into a kitchen job at an upscale resort in New York state. As the story goes, he fried up the first batch of chips in a fit of pique after a diner complained that his French fries were cut too thickly. Morrison’s schoolroom, kitchen and restaurant scenes seem a little more integrated than would have been likely in the 1850s, but his sinuous figures slide through them with exaggerated elegance, adding a theatrical energy as delicious as the snack food they celebrate. The author leaves Crum presiding over a restaurant (also integrated) of his own, closes with a note separating fact from fiction and also lists her sources. (Picture book/nonfiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 2006

ISBN: 1-58430-255-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Lee & Low Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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