Though Isatou Ceesay’s country may be unfamiliar to young readers, they’ve probably done some handicraft recycling of their...

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ONE PLASTIC BAG

ISATOU CEESAY AND THE RECYCLING WOMEN OF THE GAMBIA

Distressed by the problem of plastic-bag disposal, a Gambian woman organizes her neighbors to turn trash into treasure.

When Isatou Ceesay first discovered plastic bags in the Gambia in West Africa, in the 1980s, they seemed wonderfully useful and sturdy. But in her village, they soon became a nuisance, piling up in ugly dump areas where mosquitoes bred. Goats ate them and died. Her solution was to collect and clean used bags, cut them into strips and crochet the strips into useful plastic purses. These were sold at local markets and eventually internationally. Paul, who first went to the Gambia as a volunteer and has returned in other roles, tells this story in a straightforward fashion, deftly including words from the Wolof language and including details about Ceesay’s village life. A map, author’s note, glossary, timeline and excellent suggestions for further reading set this example of a woman who made a difference in a larger context. Fittingly, the collage illustrations make use of colorful papers and plastic bags. These reveal the labor involved and show the women’s joy in the results of their work.

Though Isatou Ceesay’s country may be unfamiliar to young readers, they’ve probably done some handicraft recycling of their own. The easy connection makes this a welcome addition to the small shelf of examples of ingenuity in developing nations. (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4677-1608-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the...

ROSIE REVERE, ENGINEER

Rhymed couplets convey the story of a girl who likes to build things but is shy about it. Neither the poetry nor Rosie’s projects always work well.

Rosie picks up trash and oddments where she finds them, stashing them in her attic room to work on at night. Once, she made a hat for her favorite zookeeper uncle to keep pythons away, and he laughed so hard that she never made anything publicly again. But when her great-great-aunt Rose comes to visit and reminds Rosie of her own past building airplanes, she expresses her regret that she still has not had the chance to fly. Great-great-aunt Rose is visibly modeled on Rosie the Riveter, the iconic, red-bandanna–wearing poster woman from World War II. Rosie decides to build a flying machine and does so (it’s a heli-o-cheese-copter), but it fails. She’s just about to swear off making stuff forever when Aunt Rose congratulates her on her failure; now she can go on to try again. Rosie wears her hair swooped over one eye (just like great-great-aunt Rose), and other figures have exaggerated hairdos, tiny feet and elongated or greatly rounded bodies. The detritus of Rosie’s collections is fascinating, from broken dolls and stuffed animals to nails, tools, pencils, old lamps and possibly an erector set. And cheddar-cheese spray.

Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the right place. (historical note) (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4197-0845-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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Cool and stylish.

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ADA TWIST, SCIENTIST

Her intellectual curiosity is surpassed only by her passion for science. But what to do about her messy experiments?

Ada is speechless until she turns 3. But once she learns how to break out of her crib, there’s no stopping the kinky-haired, brown-skinned girl. “She tore through the house on a fact-finding spree.” When she does start speaking, her favorite words are “why,” “how,” and “when.” Her parents, a fashion-forward black couple who sport a variety of trendy outfits, are dumbfounded, and her older brother can only point at her in astonishment. She amazes her friends with her experiments. Ada examines all the clocks in the house, studies the solar system, and analyzes all the smells she encounters. Fortunately, her parents stop her from putting the cat in the dryer, sending her instead to the Thinking Chair. But while there, she covers the wall with formulae. What can her parents do? Instead of punishing her passion, they decide to try to understand it. “It’s all in the heart of a young scientist.” Though her plot is negligible—Ada’s parents arguably change more than she does—Beaty delightfully advocates for girls in science in her now-trademark crisply rhyming text. Roberts’ illustrations, in watercolor, pen, and ink, manage to be both smart and silly; the page compositions artfully evoke the tumult of Ada’s curiosity, filling white backgrounds with questions and clutter.

Cool and stylish. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2137-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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