There’s not much beyond the razzle-dazzle, but it’s got that in spades.

READ REVIEW

ROAR

A DINOSAUR TOUR

Intense hues light up a prehistoric parade.

It’s really all about the colors. The endpapers are twinned head-shot galleries captioned, in the front, with scientific names (“Tyrannosaurus rex”) and pronunciations and, in the rear, translations of same (“Tyrant Lizard King”). In between, Paul marches 18 labeled dinos—mostly one type per page or spread, all flat, white-eyed silhouettes posed (with occasional exceptions) facing the same way against inconspicuously stylized background. The text runs toward the trite: “Some dinosaurs were fast… / and other dinosaurs were slow.” But inspired by the fact that we know very little about how dinosaurs were decorated (according to a brief author’s note), Paul makes each page turn a visual flash. Going for saturated hues and vivid contrasts rather than complex patterns, he sets red-orange spikes like flames along the back of a mottled aquamarine Kentrosaurus, places a small purple-blue Compsognathus beneath a towering Supersaurus that glows like a blown ember, pairs a Giganotosaurus’ toothy head and crest in similarly lambent shades to a spotted green body, and outfits the rest of his cast in like finery. “Today you can see their bones at the museum,” he abruptly, inadequately, and simplistically concludes.

There’s not much beyond the razzle-dazzle, but it’s got that in spades. (Informational picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: April 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6698-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

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It’s a bit sketchy of historical detail, but it’s coherent, inspirational, and engaging without indulging in rapturous...

ROSA PARKS

From the Little People, BIG DREAMS series

A first introduction to the iconic civil rights activist.

“She was very little and very brave, and she always tried to do what was right.” Without many names or any dates, Kaiser traces Parks’ life and career from childhood to later fights for “fair schools, jobs, and houses for black people” as well as “voting rights, women’s rights and the rights of people in prison.” Though her refusal to change seats and the ensuing bus boycott are misleadingly presented as spontaneous acts of protest, young readers will come away with a clear picture of her worth as a role model. Though recognizable thanks to the large wire-rimmed glasses Parks sports from the outset as she marches confidently through Antelo’s stylized illustrations, she looks childlike throughout (as characteristic of this series), and her skin is unrealistically darkened to match the most common shade visible on other African-American figures. In her co-published Emmeline Pankhurst (illustrated by Ana Sanfelippo), Kaiser likewise simplistically implies that Great Britain led the way in granting universal women’s suffrage but highlights her subject’s courageous quest for justice, and Isabel Sánchez Vegara caps her profile of Audrey Hepburn (illustrated by Amaia Arrazola) with the moot but laudable claim that “helping people across the globe” (all of whom in the pictures are dark-skinned children) made Hepburn “happier than acting or dancing ever had.” All three titles end with photographs and timelines over more-detailed recaps plus at least one lead to further information.

It’s a bit sketchy of historical detail, but it’s coherent, inspirational, and engaging without indulging in rapturous flights of hyperbole. (Picture book/biography. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-78603-018-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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An absorbing account of a real-life adventure in a series that showcases historical accomplishments of women. (Informational...

A RACE AROUND THE WORLD

THE TRUE STORY OF NELLIE BLY & ELIZABETH BISLAND

Rose (Ride On, Will Cody!, 2017, etc.) explores the true story of a race between two accomplished 19th-century women in this children’s book featuring illustrations by Bye (Leading the Way, 2019).

In 1889, famed reporter Nellie Bly believed that she could circle the globe faster than anyone had before—in less than the 80 days of Jules Verne’s fictional hero. She pitched the story to her boss at the New York World, who, after initial protests, approved her journey. As Bly left New York City, heading east, Cosmopolitan writer Elizabeth Bisland was sent off to the west, with little notice, to race Bly back to the city. In this entry in the She Makes History series, Rose reports the travels of both women in tandem, showing the eastward movement of Bly and the westward travel of Bisland as the reporters encountered successes and setbacks. Rose’s text and Bye’s cartoon-style color images, which accurately and vividly depict the era in detail, allow young readers to get a deeper sense of what living in the late 1800s was like and how travel, by various methods, was very different than it is in the modern day. The extensive text never overwhelms the illustrations, though, and Bye depicts the players in action-oriented poses that propel the story forward. One particularly elegant two-page spread shows the two travelers’ ships literally passing in the night. Rose captures both the wonder of the world as the women experience it as well as the dangers and miseries of their journeys. Her straightforward vocabulary and accessible narration will let young readers immerse themselves in the history. Endnotes offer greater context for the role of women reporters of the era, highlighting the main characters’ tremendous achievements.

An absorbing account of a real-life adventure in a series that showcases historical accomplishments of women. (Informational picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8075-0010-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Nov. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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