A runaway success.

READ REVIEW

THE IMPORTANT THING ABOUT MARGARET WISE BROWN

The important thing about this review is to say this picture book is great.

Here and now, we say to Barnett and Jacoby: We SEE what you’ve done. You’ve paid tribute to a woman who changed picture books. Forever. You’ve acknowledged her queerness, telling readers she fell in love “with a woman called Michael / and a man called Pebble.” You’ve honored her words with references to such titles as Goodnight Moon, The Runaway Bunny, The Little Fur Family, and more. You’ve sat with her respect for child readers as thinking, feeling, whole beings, and you’ve invited us, your readers, and hers, to do the same. You’ve framed her conflict with a stuffy librarian as an epic, funny battle. Just like Brown’s texts, yours is quirky, and sweet, experimental, funny, and at times heartbreakingly gorgeous. And Jacoby channels Clement Hurd, and Leonard Weisgard, and Garth Williams, and so many other Brown collaborators—and yet? Jacoby remains herself. Just like Margaret Wise Brown was herself, her whole life long. Or her whole life short, really, right? Isn’t it a shame she died so young? At 42—as you document in this picture-book biography, this love letter to her life, and to her astonishing legacy to children’s literature. Honestly? We don’t know what more to say. But we guess we will say this: have a carrot. You’ve earned it. And so much more. The important thing is that you wrote this picture book—this picture book about Margaret Wise Brown.

A runaway success. (Picture book/biography. 5-adult)

Pub Date: May 21, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-239344-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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Humble, endearing and utterly easy to relate to; don’t miss this one.

THE DUMBEST IDEA EVER!

The charismatic creator of the Eisner-nominated Amelia Rules! series recounts his beginnings as a cartoonist.

From the very first panel, Gownley’s graphic memoir is refreshingly different. He’s not the archetypal nerd, and he doesn’t retreat to draw due to feelings of loneliness or isolation. Gownley seems to be a smart kid and a talented athlete, and he has a loyal group of friends and a girlfriend. After he falls ill, first with chicken pox and then pneumonia, he falls behind in school and loses his head-of-the-class standing—a condition he is determined to reverse. A long-standing love of comics leads him to write his own, though his first attempt is shot down by his best friend, who suggests he should instead write a comic about their group. He does, and it’s an instant sensation. Gownley’s story is wonderful; his small-town life is so vividly evinced, it’s difficult to not get lost in it. While readers will certainly pick up on the nostalgia, it should be refreshing—if not completely alien—for younger readers to see teens interacting without texting, instead using phones with cords. Eagle-eyed readers will also be able to see the beginnings of his well-loved books about Amelia. He includes an author’s note that shouldn’t be overlooked—just be sure to keep the tissues handy.

Humble, endearing and utterly easy to relate to; don’t miss this one. (author’s note) (Graphic memoir. 10 & up)

Pub Date: Feb. 25, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-45346-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2013

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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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