Schubert and Colón ably demonstrate one of their book’s final assertions: “there really was nobody like Pete Seeger.”...

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HOW PETE SEEGER GOT AMERICA SINGING

Pete Seeger’s lifelong commitment to songwriting, singing, and activism made him a beloved figure in American music.

“Pete sang old songs, new songs, old songs with new words, and songs he made up.” Schubert intersperses her simple, graceful text with the titles of three dozen familiar songs written or made famous by Pete Seeger, demonstrating how thoroughly Seeger’s music permeates the American folk-singing tradition. Colón’s richly colored and textured full-color illustrations convey the warmth and joy Seeger demonstrated in making and sharing music. Seeger is shown singing with the Weavers and with his friend Woody Guthrie as well as with crowds large and small. The faces of his audiences and singing companions across all the years are diverse. One striking double-page spread following the account of Seeger’s 1957 citation for contempt by the House Un-American Activities Committee subtly conveys the changing landscape and struggles of the laborers Seeger championed. A highway crosses hills where people are working the fields; a large billboard in the foreground advertises a 360-acre golf course down the road. Schubert and Colón capture with affection and respect Seeger’s remarkable lifetime of speaking truth to power through music and engaging the hearts of his audiences. A biographical timeline includes a charming selection from a boyhood letter, contemplating a banjo purchase; the generous resource list includes source notes and recommended recordings.

Schubert and Colón ably demonstrate one of their book’s final assertions: “there really was nobody like Pete Seeger.” (Picture book/biography. 4-9)

Pub Date: June 13, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62672-250-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2017

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Not astonishingly go-out-and-buy-it-at-graduation inspirational, but all it takes is one seed of change to be planted.

GOING PLACES

Imagination soars—quite literally—when a little girl follows her own set of rules.

Every year Oak Hill School has a go-kart race called the Going Places contest. Students are given identical go-kart kits with a precise set of instructions. And of course, every single kart ends up exactly the same. Every one, that is, except Maya’s. Maya is a dreamy artist, and she would rather sketch birds in her backyard than get caught up in the competition. When she finally does start working, she uses the parts in the go-kart box but creates something completely different. No one ever said it had to be a go-kart. Maya’s creative thinking inspires Rafael, her neighbor (and the most enthusiastic Going Places contestant), to ask to team up. The instructions never say they couldn’t work together, either! An ode to creativity and individuality to be sure, but the Reynolds brothers are also taking a swipe at modern education: Endless repetition and following instructions without question create a culture of conformity. Hopefully now, readers will see infinite possibility every time the system hands them an identical go-kart box.

Not astonishingly go-out-and-buy-it-at-graduation inspirational, but all it takes is one seed of change to be planted. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-6608-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2014

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Good fun for all little ninjas and their parents.

NAUGHTY NINJA TAKES A BATH

After swinging out from the jungle after a long day of ninja-ing, Will makes his way home just in time for a bath. But as all ninjas know, danger lurks around every corner.

Even naughty ninjas get hungry, but Dad says, “Pee-yew,” and insists his little ninja get clean before going near a morsel. Ever the Naughty Ninja, Will follows his dad into the bathroom and immediately spies danger: Poisonous flies that have followed him from the jungle! As any parent would, his dad begs him not to say, “Ninja to the rescue,” because we all know what comes after a catchphrase…chaos! Through each increasingly rough rescue, Dad finds himself more and more defeated in his quest to complete bathtime, but ultimately he starts to find the infectious joy that only the ridiculousness of children can bring out in an adult. The art is bright and finds some nifty ninja perspectives that use the space well. It also places an interracial family at its center: Dad has brown skin and dark, puffy hair, and Mom is a white redhead; when out of his ninja cowl, Will looks like a slightly lighter-skinned version of his father. Kids will laugh at everything the dad is put through, and parents will knowingly nod, because we have all had nights with little ninjas soaking the bathroom floor. The book starts out a little text heavy but finds its groove quickly, reading smoothly going forward. Lots of action means it’s best not to save this one for bedtime.

Good fun for all little ninjas and their parents. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5420-9433-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2019

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