An ongoing success story for all readers and especially Ailey’s worldwide legion of fans.



Only the third person to direct the esteemed and much-loved American dance company, Battle represents a strong line that celebrates African-American music, faith, and dance.

Much as the spirituality and power of the African-American church infused Alvin Ailey’s signature work, Revelations, with beauty, sorrow, humor, and pride, so attendance at a performance of that dance work inspired a young African-American boy from Miami to pursue a career in modern dance. Cline-Ransome recounts Robert Battle’s childhood struggles and his loving, supportive family in a warmly written narrative. She follows his meteoric career to New York City, studying at Juilliard, dancing and choreographing for modern companies, and finally following Alvin Ailey and Judith Jamison to become director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Her collaborator (and husband) uses pastels in full-page bleeds to depict both family scenes and practice sessions in studios. A double-page spread showcases the joyous and often encored last movement of Revelations, while panels and pages of colorfully outlined sketches evoke the precision and drama of dance movement. An especially beautifully conceived image is on the cover, capturing Battle in a moment of intensely emotional concentration.

An ongoing success story for all readers and especially Ailey’s worldwide legion of fans. (foreword by Battle, author’s note, illustrator’s note, bibliography, further reading, photographs) (Picture book/biography. 6-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4814-2221-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2015

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            The legions of fans who over the years have enjoyed dePaola’s autobiographical picture books will welcome this longer gathering of reminiscences.  Writing in an authentically childlike voice, he describes watching the new house his father was building go up despite a succession of disasters, from a brush fire to the hurricane of 1938.  Meanwhile, he also introduces family, friends, and neighbors, adds Nana Fall River to his already well-known Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs, remembers his first day of school (“ ‘ When do we learn to read?’  I asked.  ‘Oh, we don’t learn how to read in kindergarten.  We learn to read next year, in first grade.’  ‘Fine,’ I said.  ‘I’ll be back next year.’  And I walked right out of school.”), recalls holidays, and explains his indignation when the plot of Disney’s “Snow White” doesn’t match the story he knows.  Generously illustrated with vignettes and larger scenes, this cheery, well-knit narrative proves that an old dog can learn new tricks, and learn them surpassingly well.  (Autobiography.  7-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-399-23246-X

Page Count: 58

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1999

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Make space for this clever blend of science and self-realization.


If Pluto can’t be a planet—then what is he?

Having been a regular planet for “the better part of forever,” Pluto is understandably knocked out of orbit by his sudden exclusion. With Charon and his four other moons in tow he sets off in search of a new identity. Unfortunately, that only spins him into further gloom, as he doesn’t have a tail like his friend Halley’s comet, is too big to join Ida and the other asteroids, and feels disinclined to try to crash into Earth like meteoroids Gem and Persi. Then, just as he’s about to plunge into a black hole of despair, an encounter with a whole quartet of kindred spheroids led by Eris rocks his world…and a follow-up surprise party thrown by an apologetic Saturn (“Dwarf planet has a nice RING to it”) and the other seven former colleagues literally puts him “over the moon.” Demmer gives all the heavenly bodies big eyes (some, including the feminine Saturn, with long lashes) and, on occasion, short arms along with distinctive identifying colors or markings. Dressing the troublemaking meteoroids in do-rags and sunglasses sounds an off note. Without mentioning that the reclassification is still controversial, Wade closes with a (somewhat) straighter account of Pluto’s current official status and the reasons for it.

Make space for this clever blend of science and self-realization. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68446-004-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Capstone Young Readers

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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