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Those interested in regional folklore and flowers will find this retelling by first-time author Lind to be of special interest; all readers will find it to be a satisfying story of the origin of the Texas bluebonnet. Introduced with a two-stanza poem Lind’s retelling recounts in rhyme the oft-told tale of a young girl who takes the initiative to sacrifice her prized possession, a doll with a bonnet made of bluejay feathers. Others in her tribe selfishly cling to their prized possessions, unwilling to make a sacrifice to end the drought afflicting her people. It is just the little girl who is willing, and only after she watches her doll burn and turn to ashes does she return to her tepee. In the night the rain comes and brings with it lush fields filled with blue and white blossoms: the legendary bluebonnet. A nice contrast to Tomie dePaola’s The Legend of the Bluebonnet (1983), which has sometimes been cited as being too frightening for the very young reader, Lind’s version does not divulge the girl’s family situation but has her acting alone to make her sacrifice. In this version, the doll is a precious companion rather than the last remaining keepsake from a family she has lost. Kiesler (Wings on the Wind, 2002, etc.) uses acrylics in full-bleed paintings to enrich the verses. Color is used to evoke the somber and then joyous mood of each story incident; the double-page spread of the glorious bluebonnets rising to the soft clouds and blue sky is particularly striking. An author’s note summarizes the origin of the tale and provides a brief chronology of the Comanche nation and their presence in the Southwest. A pleasant introduction to a popular legend. (Picture book/folktale. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-8050-6573-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2003

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An inspiring story of young boy's compelling desire to read. As a boy of nine, Booker works in a salt mine from the dark of early morning to the gloom of night, hungry for a meal, but even hungrier to learn to read. Readers follow him on his quest in Malden, Virginia, where he finds inspiration in a man ``brown as me'' reading a newspaper on a street corner. An alphabet book helps, but Booker can't make the connection to words. Seeking out ``that brown face of hope'' once again, Booker gains a sense of the sounds represented by letters, and these become his deliverance. Bradby's fine first book is tautly written, with a poetic, spiritual quality in every line. The beautifully executed, luminous illustrations capture the atmosphere of an African-American community post-slavery: the drudgery of days consumed by back- breaking labor, the texture of private lives conducted by lantern- light. There is no other context or historical note about Booker T. Washington's life, leaving readers to piece together his identity. Regardless, this is an immensely satisfying, accomplished work, resonating first with longing and then with joy. (Picture book. 5- 8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-531-09464-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1995

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From the Adventures of Henry Whiskers series , Vol. 1

Innocuous adventuring on the smallest of scales.

The Mouse and the Motorcycle (1965) upgrades to The Mice and the Rolls-Royce.

In Windsor Castle there sits a “dollhouse like no other,” replete with working plumbing, electricity, and even a full library of real, tiny books. Called Queen Mary’s Dollhouse, it also plays host to the Whiskers family, a clan of mice that has maintained the house for generations. Henry Whiskers and his cousin Jeremy get up to the usual high jinks young mice get up to, but when Henry’s little sister Isabel goes missing at the same time that the humans decide to clean the house up, the usually bookish big brother goes on the adventure of his life. Now Henry is driving cars, avoiding cats, escaping rats, and all before the upcoming mouse Masquerade. Like an extended version of Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Two Bad Mice (1904), Priebe keeps this short chapter book constantly moving, with Duncan’s peppy art a cute capper. Oddly, the dollhouse itself plays only the smallest of roles in this story, and no factual information on the real Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House is included at the tale’s end (an opportunity lost).

Innocuous adventuring on the smallest of scales. (Fantasy. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-6575-5

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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