This allegory about the actions of individuals making a difference and the importance of hope is relayed in beautiful...

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LUCY AND THE DRAGONFLY

The natural world’s enriching effect, the tragedy of its fragile state, and the need for both action and hope are portrayed allegorically in this picture book imported from Canada.

Lucy, a little girl depicted with skin the white of the paper, loves nature. Papineau’s narrative glistens in its lyrical descriptions of Lucy’s activities as she participates in “the dance of the seasons,” and illustrator Hamel’s sprightly illustrations, full of translucent swirls of line and pattern, echo this dance. But then Earth becomes diseased, and Hamel’s illustrations display harsh black lines and darker colors. Angularity and darkness continue, both illustratively and narratively, as Lucy “give[s] up on the Earth.” When her tears fall into the brook (after a dragonfly friend brushes them off Lucy’s cheeks with her wings), her message of sadness spreads across the world and reaches Tama, a brown-skinned boy with textured, black hair, who knows “how to listen to…the songs of the brook.” Tama spreads the word, and people all over begin to want to “cure this child” by healing the planet. It’s unfortunate that Lucy is shown as white since it conveys the assumption that the happiness of white people is of paramount importance and it’s the job of brown people to see to it.

This allegory about the actions of individuals making a difference and the importance of hope is relayed in beautiful language and delicate illustrations—and a subtle white bias. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-2-7338-5620-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Auzou Publishing

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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Cool and stylish.

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ADA TWIST, SCIENTIST

Her intellectual curiosity is surpassed only by her passion for science. But what to do about her messy experiments?

Ada is speechless until she turns 3. But once she learns how to break out of her crib, there’s no stopping the kinky-haired, brown-skinned girl. “She tore through the house on a fact-finding spree.” When she does start speaking, her favorite words are “why,” “how,” and “when.” Her parents, a fashion-forward black couple who sport a variety of trendy outfits, are dumbfounded, and her older brother can only point at her in astonishment. She amazes her friends with her experiments. Ada examines all the clocks in the house, studies the solar system, and analyzes all the smells she encounters. Fortunately, her parents stop her from putting the cat in the dryer, sending her instead to the Thinking Chair. But while there, she covers the wall with formulae. What can her parents do? Instead of punishing her passion, they decide to try to understand it. “It’s all in the heart of a young scientist.” Though her plot is negligible—Ada’s parents arguably change more than she does—Beaty delightfully advocates for girls in science in her now-trademark crisply rhyming text. Roberts’ illustrations, in watercolor, pen, and ink, manage to be both smart and silly; the page compositions artfully evoke the tumult of Ada’s curiosity, filling white backgrounds with questions and clutter.

Cool and stylish. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2137-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the...

ROSIE REVERE, ENGINEER

Rhymed couplets convey the story of a girl who likes to build things but is shy about it. Neither the poetry nor Rosie’s projects always work well.

Rosie picks up trash and oddments where she finds them, stashing them in her attic room to work on at night. Once, she made a hat for her favorite zookeeper uncle to keep pythons away, and he laughed so hard that she never made anything publicly again. But when her great-great-aunt Rose comes to visit and reminds Rosie of her own past building airplanes, she expresses her regret that she still has not had the chance to fly. Great-great-aunt Rose is visibly modeled on Rosie the Riveter, the iconic, red-bandanna–wearing poster woman from World War II. Rosie decides to build a flying machine and does so (it’s a heli-o-cheese-copter), but it fails. She’s just about to swear off making stuff forever when Aunt Rose congratulates her on her failure; now she can go on to try again. Rosie wears her hair swooped over one eye (just like great-great-aunt Rose), and other figures have exaggerated hairdos, tiny feet and elongated or greatly rounded bodies. The detritus of Rosie’s collections is fascinating, from broken dolls and stuffed animals to nails, tools, pencils, old lamps and possibly an erector set. And cheddar-cheese spray.

Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the right place. (historical note) (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4197-0845-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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