Will provide some inspiration for budding architects.

FALLINGWATER

Late in his career, architect Frank Lloyd Wright designed one of the world’s most famous houses.

In 1934, Pittsburgh retail magnate Edgar Kaufmann hired Wright to build a house near the waterfalls of Bear Run, Pennsylvania. This book traces Wright’s steps through planning, construction, and successful completion of the unusual house nestled in a hillside. The illustrations echo the Japanese print style that inspired Wright’s design in spreads paced to underscore the tranquil setting. One vertical double-page spread emphasizes the height of the house jutting over the waterfalls. The book’s effectiveness, however, is marred by inconsistencies in text and illustration that seem to be a result of an attempt to appeal to both younger and older children. Languid prose alternates with short, choppy sentences throughout. For instance, the narrative recounts Wright’s dreams in stately free verse: “In dreaming this house he will use everything / he has ever seen: stone walls from Wisconsin, / sand and adobe from the Southwest, / towers and trellises from Italy.” His client’s desire for speed comes in jarringly clipped sentences: “Mr. Kaufmann calls. He is in Wisconsin. / He is coming to visit. / He wants to see the plans. / He will arrive in two hours. / He is coming to see his new house!” This, coupled with the flat, cartoonish depiction of some characters (mostly though not exclusively white), detracts from an otherwise pleasant book.

Will provide some inspiration for budding architects. (authors’ note, artist’s note, bibliography, notes) (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-59643-718-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A unique angle on a watershed moment in the civil rights era.

I AM RUBY BRIDGES

The New Orleans school child who famously broke the color line in 1960 while surrounded by federal marshals describes the early days of her experience from a 6-year-old’s perspective.

Bridges told her tale to younger children in 2009’s Ruby Bridges Goes to School, but here the sensibility is more personal, and the sometimes-shocking historical photos have been replaced by uplifting painted scenes. “I didn’t find out what being ‘the first’ really meant until the day I arrived at this new school,” she writes. Unfrightened by the crowd of “screaming white people” that greets her at the school’s door (she thinks it’s like Mardi Gras) but surprised to find herself the only child in her classroom, and even the entire building, she gradually realizes the significance of her act as (in Smith’s illustration) she compares a small personal photo to the all-White class photos posted on a bulletin board and sees the difference. As she reflects on her new understanding, symbolic scenes first depict other dark-skinned children marching into classes in her wake to friendly greetings from lighter-skinned classmates (“School is just school,” she sensibly concludes, “and kids are just kids”) and finally an image of the bright-eyed icon posed next to a soaring bridge of reconciliation. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A unique angle on a watershed moment in the civil rights era. (author and illustrator notes, glossary) (Autobiographical picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-338-75388-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Blandly laudatory.

I AM WALT DISNEY

From the Ordinary People Change the World series

The iconic animator introduces young readers to each “happy place” in his life.

The tally begins with his childhood home in Marceline, Missouri, and climaxes with Disneyland (carefully designed to be “the happiest place on Earth”), but the account really centers on finding his true happy place, not on a map but in drawing. In sketching out his early flubs and later rocket to the top, the fictive narrator gives Ub Iwerks and other Disney studio workers a nod (leaving his labor disputes with them unmentioned) and squeezes in quick references to his animated films, from Steamboat Willie to Winnie the Pooh (sans Fantasia and Song of the South). Eliopoulos incorporates stills from the films into his cartoon illustrations and, characteristically for this series, depicts Disney as a caricature, trademark mustache in place on outsized head even in childhood years and child sized even as an adult. Human figures default to white, with occasional people of color in crowd scenes and (ahistorically) in the animation studio. One unidentified animator builds up the role-modeling with an observation that Walt and Mickey were really the same (“Both fearless; both resourceful”). An assertion toward the end—“So when do you stop being a child? When you stop dreaming”—muddles the overall follow-your-bliss message. A timeline to the EPCOT Center’s 1982 opening offers photos of the man with select associates, rodent and otherwise. An additional series entry, I Am Marie Curie, publishes simultaneously, featuring a gowned, toddler-sized version of the groundbreaking physicist accepting her two Nobel prizes.

Blandly laudatory. (bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-7352-2875-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

more