Children may not eagerly embrace this earnest homage to a worthy subject, but those with long-enough attention spans will...

READ REVIEW

I AM FARMER

GROWING AN ENVIRONMENTAL MOVEMENT IN CAMEROON

An illustrated biography of Tantoh Nforba, a man who improves lives in Cameroon by helping communities access clean water and take pride in farming.

The book starts with promise: a collage of lush, sloping land with small black figures carrying water. “This is northwestern Cameroon. Green. Wet. Alive.” Unfortunately, the pages that follow describe his career in an overlong and meandering present-tense narration. A young boy named Tantoh plays in the soil in his grandmother’s plot and learns from her how to garden. Tantoh’s father encourages his interest in farming, but his peers tease him with the nickname “Farmer” as a put-down. His older brother encourages him to excel in school so that he can get an office job and support the family, but Tantoh doesn’t want an office job. He continues working the land, learning about it, and networking. Following college, he goes on to help his hometown create gardens and to help other villages locate clean water, build catchments to access it, and build reservoirs to hold water for times of drought. His work inspires many, and young people are no longer ashamed of farming. The simple beauty and variety of Zunon’s images provide enough places for eyes to rest to carry readers through the text, the dappling of her papers adding texture.

Children may not eagerly embrace this earnest homage to a worthy subject, but those with long-enough attention spans will take in some gems. (authors’ note, glossary, map, proverbs, photos) (Picture book/biography. 8-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5124-4914-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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A rich source of terrors both real and manufactured, equally effective in broad daylight or beneath the bedcovers.

DON'T READ THIS BOOK BEFORE BED

THRILLS, CHILLS, AND HAUNTINGLY TRUE STORIES

A compendium of paranormal doings, natural horrors, and eerie wonders worldwide and (in several senses) beyond.

Maladroit title aside (“…in Bed” would make more sense, cautionwise), this collection of hauntings, cryptids, natural and historical mysteries, and general titillation (“Vampire bats might be coming for you!”) offers a broad array of reasons to stay wide awake. Arranged in no discernible order the 60-plus entries include ghostly sightings in the White House and various castles, body-burrowing guinea worms, the Nazca lines of Peru, Mothman and Nessie, the hastily abandoned city of Pripyat (which, thanks to the Chernobyl disaster, may be habitable again…in 24,000 years), monarch-butterfly migrations, and diverse rains of fish, frogs, fireballs, and unidentified slime. Each is presented in a busy whirl of narrative blocks, photos, graphics, side comments, and arbitrary “Fright-O-Meter” ratings (Paris’ “Creepy Catacombs” earn just a “4” out of 10 and black holes a “3,” but the aforementioned aerial amphibians a full “10”). The headers tend toward the lurid: “Jelly From Space,” “Zombie Ants,” “Mongolian Death Worm.” Claybourne sprinkles multiple-choice pop quizzes throughout for changes of pace.

A rich source of terrors both real and manufactured, equally effective in broad daylight or beneath the bedcovers. (Nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4263-2841-1

Page Count: 144

Publisher: National Geographic

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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THE ARABIAN NIGHTS

In a large, handsome format, Tarnowska offers six tales plus an abbreviated version of the frame story, retold in formal but contemporary language and sandwiched between a note on the Nights’ place in her childhood in Lebanon and a page of glossary and source notes. Rather than preserve the traditional embedded structure and cliffhanger cutoffs, she keeps each story discrete and tones down the sex and violence. This structure begs the question of why Shahriyar lets Shahrazade [sic] live if she tells each evening’s tale complete, but it serves to simplify the reading for those who want just one tale at a time. Only the opener, “Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp,” is likely to be familiar to young readers; in others a prince learns to control a flying “Ebony Horse” by “twiddling” its ears, contending djinn argue whether “Prince Kamar el Zaman [or] Princess Boudour” is the more beautiful (the prince wins) and in a Cinderella tale a “Diamond Anklet” subs for the glass slipper. Hénaff’s stylized scenes of domed cityscapes and turbaned figures add properly whimsical visual notes to this short but animated gathering. (Folktales. 10-12)

 

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-84686-122-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Barefoot

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2010

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