KING CHARLES

From the Little People, BIG DREAMS series

Too sketchy and impersonal to last; at best a stopgap to meet the current rush of interest.

A quick profile of “the longest-serving heir in British history.”

Though as bland as its subject’s public persona and so compressed that the multiple schools “little Charles Philip Arthur George” attended on his way to college are reduced to one—illustrated with a historically unlikely view of the young prince being paraded before a racially diverse line of fellow students—this thumbnail biography does mention his two marriages and the protests that greeted his early residence in Wales. On more worthwhile notes, it also points to his creation of the Prince’s Trust (this paired to a more plausibly inclusive group of beneficiaries) and justifiably makes much of his devotion to environmental causes. Also, Hunt gets the royal ears, hair, and blank expression just right in the cartoon views of Charles in outdoor settings, waving at crowds, and (in earlier years, anyway) posing with various family members. An afterword with four photos adds a bit more detail to this view of an earnest, low-key figure who, following “a lifetime of preparing for the job,” ascended to the throne after his long-lived mother’s death and “hoped not to let anyone down.” (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Too sketchy and impersonal to last; at best a stopgap to meet the current rush of interest. (Picture-book biography. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 4, 2023

ISBN: 9780711286696

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Feb. 7, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2023

BASKETBALL DREAMS

Blandly inspirational fare made to evoke equally shrink-wrapped responses.

An NBA star pays tribute to the influence of his grandfather.

In the same vein as his Long Shot (2009), illustrated by Frank Morrison, this latest from Paul prioritizes values and character: “My granddad Papa Chilly had dreams that came true,” he writes, “so maybe if I listen and watch him, / mine will too.” So it is that the wide-eyed Black child in the simply drawn illustrations rises early to get to the playground hoops before anyone else, watches his elder working hard and respecting others, hears him cheering along with the rest of the family from the stands during games, and recalls in a prose afterword that his grandfather wasn’t one to lecture but taught by example. Paul mentions in both the text and the backmatter that Papa Chilly was the first African American to own a service station in North Carolina (his presumed dream) but not that he was killed in a robbery, which has the effect of keeping the overall tone positive and the instructional content one-dimensional. Figures in the pictures are mostly dark-skinned. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Blandly inspirational fare made to evoke equally shrink-wrapped responses. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-250-81003-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2022

I AM RUBY BRIDGES

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

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 21, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

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