This appealing concoction is a powerful reminder of the good one person can do.

GINGERBREAD FOR LIBERTY!

HOW A GERMAN BAKER HELPED WIN THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION

Rockliff and Kirsch introduce a lesser-known figure who demonstrated patriotic fire by baking bread for the Continental Army.

It is fitting that throughout the tale our hero is simply called the baker—curious youngsters only learn his name, Christopher Ludwick, in the closing author’s note. Brisk, playful text sketches Ludwick’s life and cheerful, generous nature. Although too “old and fat” to fight, when he learns the troops are hungry, “[t]he baker roll[s] up his sleeves. ‘No empty bellies here,’ he [tells] General Washington. ‘Not in my America!’ ” This is his refrain, and it is clear that this German immigrant, a gingerbread baker by trade, believes in liberty and opportunity. In fact, he volunteers to share this information with the foreign soldiers who arrive on our shores. Children must infer they are Hessians, a detail later confirmed in the author’s note. Bright watercolor illustrations resemble decorated gingerbread and burst across the double-page spreads as if barely able to contain this spirited patriot and his enormous contribution. The author’s note provides more information about Ludwick’s life and philanthropic efforts.

This appealing concoction is a powerful reminder of the good one person can do. (sources, recipe) (Informational picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-544-13001-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2014

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Stirring encouragement for all “little people” with “big dreams.” (Picture book/biography. 5-7)

MAYA ANGELOU

From the Little People, BIG DREAMS series

“There’s nothing I can’t be,” young Maya thinks, and then shows, in this profile for newly independent readers, imported from Spain.

The inspirational message is conveyed through a fine skein of biographical details. It begins with her birth in St. Louis and the prejudice she experienced growing up in a small Arkansas town and closes with her reading of a poem “about her favorite thing: hope” at Bill Clinton’s presidential inauguration. In between, it mentions the (unspecified) “attack” by her mother’s boyfriend and subsequent elective muteness she experienced as a child, as well as some of the varied pursuits that preceded her eventual decision to become a writer. Kaiser goes on in a closing spread to recap Angelou’s life and career, with dates, beneath a quartet of portrait photos. Salaberria’s simple illustrations, filled with brown-skinned figures, are more idealized than photorealistic, but, though only in the cover image do they make direct contact with readers’, Angelou’s huge eyes are an effective focal point in each scene. The message is similar in the co-published Amelia Earhart, written by Ma Isabel Sánchez Vegara (and also translated by Pitt), but the pictures are more fanciful as illustrator Mariadiamantes endows the aviator with a mane of incandescent orange hair and sends her flying westward (in contradiction of the text and history) on her final around-the-world flight.

Stirring encouragement for all “little people” with “big dreams.” (Picture book/biography. 5-7)

Pub Date: July 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-84780-889-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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Weatherford and Christie dazzlingly salute African-Americans’ drive to preserve their dignity and pride.

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FREEDOM IN CONGO SQUARE

Count down the days until Sunday, a day for slaves in New Orleans to gather together and remember their African heritage.

In rhyming couplets, Weatherford vividly describes each day of nonstop work under a “dreaded lash” until Sunday, when slaves and free blacks could assemble in Congo Square, now a part of New Orleans’ Louis Armstrong Park and on the National Register of Historic Places. Musicians “drummed ancestral roots alive” on different traditional instruments, and men and women danced. They also exchanged information and sold wares. The poetry is powerful and evocative, providing a strong and emotional window into the world of the slave. Christie’s full-bleed paintings are a moving accompaniment. His elongated figures toil in fields and in houses with bent backs under the watchful eyes of overseers with whips. Then on Sunday, they greet one another and dance with expressively charged spirits. One brilliant double-page spread portrays African masks and instruments with swirling lines of text; it is followed by another with four dancers moving beautifully—almost ethereally—on a vibrant yellow collage background. As the author notes, jazz would soon follow from the music played in Congo Square.

Weatherford and Christie dazzlingly salute African-Americans’ drive to preserve their dignity and pride. (foreword, glossary, author’s note) (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0103-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Bee

Review Posted Online: Oct. 14, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2015

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