Revelatory to young audiences in more ways than one.

READ REVIEW

HEDY LAMARR'S DOUBLE LIFE

From the People Who Shaped Our World series

Brilliance unrecognized.

Bombshell actress Hedy Lamarr was worshipped for her beauty and elegance, but what the public didn’t know was that she was an inventor. Interspersing descriptions of her various inventions and Lamarr’s own words, the straightforward text and appealing, appropriately retro-feeling illustrations present a wide-eyed Lamarr as a multifaceted talent and portray both her life as a Hollywood star and her inquisitiveness and intellectual creativity, from her childhood in Austria through her acting heyday to her recognition as an inventor in her 80s. In this clear, appealing tale of an unsung heroine, Wallmark does not explicitly discuss the second-class status of female scientists but instead focuses on her subject’s personality and achievements. The process of invention and inspiration are explained in a succinct and inspiring way, as is Lamarr’s working partnership with composer and inventor George Antheil; their invention is relevant and used frequently in technology today. Fifty years later, Lamar is recognized, and her response forms the book’s conclusion: “It’s about time.” Wu’s illustrations focus on the book’s white principals but include secondary characters of color, neatly shifting mode to help illustrate the technological principles under discussion. The extensive backmatter includes a timeline, bibliography, further reading—and, emblematic of the subject, a description of Lamarr’s invention and a list of her films.

Revelatory to young audiences in more ways than one. (Picture book/biography. 5-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2691-7

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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It’s a bit sketchy of historical detail, but it’s coherent, inspirational, and engaging without indulging in rapturous...

ROSA PARKS

From the Little People, BIG DREAMS series

A first introduction to the iconic civil rights activist.

“She was very little and very brave, and she always tried to do what was right.” Without many names or any dates, Kaiser traces Parks’ life and career from childhood to later fights for “fair schools, jobs, and houses for black people” as well as “voting rights, women’s rights and the rights of people in prison.” Though her refusal to change seats and the ensuing bus boycott are misleadingly presented as spontaneous acts of protest, young readers will come away with a clear picture of her worth as a role model. Though recognizable thanks to the large wire-rimmed glasses Parks sports from the outset as she marches confidently through Antelo’s stylized illustrations, she looks childlike throughout (as characteristic of this series), and her skin is unrealistically darkened to match the most common shade visible on other African-American figures. In her co-published Emmeline Pankhurst (illustrated by Ana Sanfelippo), Kaiser likewise simplistically implies that Great Britain led the way in granting universal women’s suffrage but highlights her subject’s courageous quest for justice, and Isabel Sánchez Vegara caps her profile of Audrey Hepburn (illustrated by Amaia Arrazola) with the moot but laudable claim that “helping people across the globe” (all of whom in the pictures are dark-skinned children) made Hepburn “happier than acting or dancing ever had.” All three titles end with photographs and timelines over more-detailed recaps plus at least one lead to further information.

It’s a bit sketchy of historical detail, but it’s coherent, inspirational, and engaging without indulging in rapturous flights of hyperbole. (Picture book/biography. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-78603-018-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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Sage, soothing ideas for a busy, loud, sometimes-divisive world.

GRANDMA'S GARDENS

In an inviting picture book, Chelsea and Hillary Clinton share personal revelations on how gardening with a grandmother, a mother, and children shapes and nurtures a love and respect for nature, beauty, and a general philosophy for life.

Grandma Dorothy, the former senator, secretary of state, and presidential candidate’s mother, loved gardens, appreciating the multiple benefits they yielded for herself and her family. The Clinton women reminisce about their beloved forebear and all she taught them in a color-coded, alternating text, blue for Chelsea and green for Hillary. Via brief yet explicit remembrances, they share what they learned, observed, and most of all enjoyed in gardens with her. Each double-page spread culminates in a declarative statement set in italicized red text invoking Dorothy’s wise words. Gardens can be many things: places for celebration, discovery and learning, vehicles for teaching responsibility in creating beauty, home to wildlife large and small, a place to share stories and develop memories. Though operating from very personal experience rooted in class privilege, the mother-daughter duo mostly succeeds in imparting a universally significant message: Whether visiting a public garden or working in the backyard, generations can cultivate a lasting bond. Lemniscates uses an appropriately floral palette to evoke the gardens explored by these three white women. A Spanish edition, Los jardines de la abuela, publishes simultaneously; Teresa Mlawer’s translation is fluid and pleasing, in at least one case improving on the original.

Sage, soothing ideas for a busy, loud, sometimes-divisive world. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 31, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-11535-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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