FEARLESS WORLD TRAVELER

ADVENTURES OF MARIANNE NORTH, BOTANICAL ARTIST

A life full of adventure with a lasting legacy.

An introduction to a prolific painter with a love for all species.

Marianne North was dissuaded by her family from playing music, cultivating her artistic talent, and pursuing an education; her main job was to find a wealthy husband—someone like her father. But from her teens, Pop, as she was nicknamed, devoted her life to painting the flora and fauna of our world. North spent the majority of her adult life traveling to far-off places. When she finally ran out of room for her paintings in her own home in London, she opened a museum: the Marianne North Gallery at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, which was an instant success and is still open today—one of the oldest exhibitions by a woman artist in the world. Stadtlander’s artwork is intricate and full of detail. She includes almost every shade of green imaginable in her illustrations, which are lush and rich with life both extant and extinct. They depict the White protagonist alone during her travels. A double-page spread of North riding an elephant is exquisite and serene. The small print could pose difficulties for young readers reading this book alone, so it’s good that the illustrations’ colors are bright and bold enough for a group read-aloud. Plenty of backmatter makes this book an excellent starting point both for further research and to teach children how much work goes into creating a nonfiction book. North’s own paintings appear on the endpapers, fully attesting to her talent.

A life full of adventure with a lasting legacy. (biographical note, sources, source notes, character list) (Picture book/biography. 9-12)

Pub Date: May 11, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3959-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2021

BUTT OR FACE?

A gleeful game for budding naturalists.

Artfully cropped animal portraits challenge viewers to guess which end they’re seeing.

In what will be a crowd-pleasing and inevitably raucous guessing game, a series of close-up stock photos invite children to call out one of the titular alternatives. A page turn reveals answers and basic facts about each creature backed up by more of the latter in a closing map and table. Some of the posers, like the tail of an okapi or the nose on a proboscis monkey, are easy enough to guess—but the moist nose on a star-nosed mole really does look like an anus, and the false “eyes” on the hind ends of a Cuyaba dwarf frog and a Promethea moth caterpillar will fool many. Better yet, Lavelle saves a kicker for the finale with a glimpse of a small parasitical pearlfish peeking out of a sea cucumber’s rear so that the answer is actually face and butt. “Animal identification can be tricky!” she concludes, noting that many of the features here function as defenses against attack: “In the animal world, sometimes your butt will save your face and your face just might save your butt!” (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A gleeful game for budding naturalists. (author’s note) (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: July 11, 2023

ISBN: 9781728271170

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks eXplore

Review Posted Online: May 9, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2023

MORE THAN PEACH

An inspirational look at one girl’s quest to make sure that all skin tones are visible and available in the classroom.

A Black girl’s simple observation propels her into activism.

Woodard, who launched the More Than Peach Project—which arranges for classrooms and children in need to receive kits that include art supplies and boxes of multicultural crayons (crayons in a variety of skin tones)—relates the incident that sparked her journey. As the book begins, she is dropped off at school and notices that her family’s skin tone differs from that of her classmates. While it is clear that she is one of a few children of color at school, that difference isn’t really felt until her friends start asking for the “skin-color” crayon when they mean peach. She’s bothered that no one else seems to notice that skin comes in many colors, so she devises a unique way of bringing everyone’s attention to that fact. With support from her family and her school, she encourages her fellow classmates to rethink their language and starts an initiative to ensure that everyone’s skin tone is represented in each crayon box. Appealing, realistic artwork depicts Woodard’s experiences, while endpapers feature More Than Peach crayon boxes and childlike illustrations of kids of different ethnicities doing various activities. The story is stirring and will motivate budding activists. (This book was reviewed digitally; the review has been updated for factual accuracy.)

An inspirational look at one girl’s quest to make sure that all skin tones are visible and available in the classroom. (note from Woodard, information on Woodard’s journey into activism, instructions on starting a drive) (Picture-book biography. 6-10)

Pub Date: July 26, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-338-80927-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

Close Quickview