SATCHEL PAIGE

Few characters in sports have so vivid or memorable a personality as Satchel Paige, even in the era of Michael Jordan; Cline-Ransome’s storytelling captures that personality with the rhythms of a folktale, while her husband’s oil paintings are strong and sure. Paige was a natural-born pitcher, expert from a very early age. This well-written biography begins with his childhood, where his job of carrying luggage for passengers at the Mobile, Alabama train station earned him his nickname. He learned baseball in “reform school,” where he was sent after getting caught stealing, and was a star in the Negro Leagues with greats such as Cool Papa Bell and Josh Gibson. He was over 40 when he finally got his chance in the majors, but was the first African-American to pitch in a World Series. The green and gold of the field, the long, tall image of Satchel in his uniform against a deep blue sky, and the bodies of baseball players coiled or unleashed make a fine counterpoint to the lyrical telling. (Picture book/biography. 6-10)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-689-81151-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1999

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THE COLORS OF US

This vibrant, thoughtful book from Katz (Over the Moon, 1997) continues her tribute to her adopted daughter, Lena, born in Guatemala. Lena is “seven. I am the color of cinnamon. Mom says she could eat me up”; she learns during a painting lesson that to get the color brown, she will have to “mix red, yellow, black, and white paints.” They go for a walk to observe the many shades of brown: they see Sonia, who is the color of creamy peanut butter; Isabella, who is chocolate brown; Lucy, both peachy and tan; Jo-Jin, the color of honey; Kyle, “like leaves in fall”; Mr. Pellegrino, the color of pizza crust, golden brown. Lena realizes that every shade is beautiful, then mixes her paints accordingly for portraits of her friends—“The colors of us!” Bold illustrations celebrate diversity with a child’s open-hearted sensibility and a mother’s love. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8050-5864-8

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1999

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LAUGH-ETERIA

Florian’s seventh collection of verse is also his most uneven; though the flair for clever rhyme that consistently lights up his other books, beginning with Monster Motel (1993), occasionally shows itself—“Hello, my name is Dracula/My clothing is all blackula./I drive a Cadillacula./I am a maniacula”—too many of the entries are routine limericks, putdowns, character portraits, rhymed lists that fall flat on the ear, or quick quips: “It’s hard to be anonymous/When you’re a hippopotamus.” Florian’s language and simple, thick-lined cartoons illustrations are equally ingenuous, and he sticks to tried-and-true subjects, from dinosaurs to school lunch, but the well of inspiration seems dry; revisit his hilarious Bing Bang Boing (1994) instead. (index) (Poetry. 8-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-15-202084-5

Page Count: 158

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1999

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