Despite a few problems, Paolo's story is presented dynamically enough to keep even non-Francophile readers engaged.

THE BUTTERFLY BOOK

A boy's loneliness in a new home is cured in unexpected ways when writings of his get loose in this ode to passionate young writers.

One day, the books on Paolo's bookshelf take flight, including the titular book, a special volume "where he writes down his secret words and precious POEMS." Paolo is despondent about the loss, but some of the books that escaped find their ways into the hands of various kids around town, who seek out Paolo and befriend him. The Butterfly Book captures the imagination of a young girl named Lilly, who becomes Paolo's first—and biggest—fan and critic. While the music seems pulled from public-domain sources, the detailed artwork and fluid animation enliven what could have been a visually uninteresting story about the power of writing. Instead, the artwork pops, sometimes appearing as comic book–style panels, other times using the entire page to present an outdoor scene. The text's translation from French is rough, with plenty of extra exclamation points, though an alphabet-book portion becomes something of a value-added French primer. Even after selecting English as the language, the French version of the text still appears in an introductory page and on some pages when viewing the visual table of contents.

Despite a few problems, Paolo's story is presented dynamically enough to keep even non-Francophile readers engaged. (iPad storybook app. 5-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 2014

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: La Souris Qui Raconte

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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A larger-than-life subject is neatly captured in text and images.

THURGOOD

The life journey of the first African American to serve on the United States Supreme Court and the incidents that formed him.

Thurgood Marshall grew up in segregated Baltimore, Maryland, with a family that encouraged him to stand for justice. Despite attending poor schools, he found a way to succeed. His father instilled in him a love of the law and encouraged him to argue like a lawyer during dinner conversations. His success in college meant he could go to law school, but the University of Maryland did not accept African American students. Instead, Marshall went to historically black Howard University, where he was mentored by civil rights lawyer Charles Houston. Marshall’s first major legal case was against the law school that denied him a place, and his success brought him to the attention of the NAACP and ultimately led to his work on the groundbreaking Brown v. Board of Education, which itself led to his appointment to the Supreme Court. This lively narrative serves as an introduction to the life of one of the country’s important civil rights figures. Important facts in Marshall’s life are effectively highlighted in an almost staccato fashion. The bold watercolor-and-collage illustrations, beginning with an enticing cover, capture and enhance the strong tone set by the words.

A larger-than-life subject is neatly captured in text and images. (author’s note, photos) (Picture book/biography. 5-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6533-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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ABIYOYO RETURNS

The seemingly ageless Seeger brings back his renowned giant for another go in a tuneful tale that, like the art, is a bit sketchy, but chockful of worthy messages. Faced with yearly floods and droughts since they’ve cut down all their trees, the townsfolk decide to build a dam—but the project is stymied by a boulder that is too huge to move. Call on Abiyoyo, suggests the granddaughter of the man with the magic wand, then just “Zoop Zoop” him away again. But the rock that Abiyoyo obligingly flings aside smashes the wand. How to avoid Abiyoyo’s destruction now? Sing the monster to sleep, then make it a peaceful, tree-planting member of the community, of course. Seeger sums it up in a postscript: “every community must learn to manage its giants.” Hays, who illustrated the original (1986), creates colorful, if unfinished-looking, scenes featuring a notably multicultural human cast and a towering Cubist fantasy of a giant. The song, based on a Xhosa lullaby, still has that hard-to-resist sing-along potential, and the themes of waging peace, collective action, and the benefits of sound ecological practices are presented in ways that children will both appreciate and enjoy. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83271-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

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