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More sketch than finished portrait but gives the artist’s personality its due.

A tribute to a 19th-century artist driven by talent, stubbornness, and impatience with nonsense.

“Balivernes!” (French for nonsense) says Rosa Bonheur when told that it’s “unladylike” to visit the horse market in Paris. And again, “Balivernes,” when she sees men allowed to cross-dress as members of the opposite sex but is (wrongly) told that she could never receive such permission. Drawn by Bron as a determined but very small, White-presenting child surrounded by towering horses and grown-ups in period clothing and, in group scenes, some variation in skin color, Bonheur comes across in Messier’s terse account of her early life as an artistically gifted force of nature who drove her reluctant father to give her art lessons, brought live farm animals to her family’s apartment to draw and paint, and quickly shouldered her way to public attention at the Paris Salon with the huge and stunning Horse Fair. This version of her story ends there, with just a brief note and a closing timeline covering the rest of her rise to fame, her death 10 years after that of her “lifelong companion,” Nathalie Micas, and the (now, at long last, waning) eclipse of her reputation. Ruth Sanderson’s A Storm of Horses (2022) presents younger readers with more analytical views of Bonheur’s art and career, but for all its brevity, this offers an equally vivid glimpse of her character. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

More sketch than finished portrait but gives the artist’s personality its due. (Picture-book biography. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 8, 2023

ISBN: 9781459833524

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2023

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Hundreds of pages of unbridled uplift boiled down to 40.

From two Nobel Peace Prize winners, an invitation to look past sadness and loneliness to the joy that surrounds us.

Bobbing in the wake of 2016’s heavyweight Book of Joy (2016), this brief but buoyant address to young readers offers an earnest insight: “If you just focus on the thing that is making / you sad, then the sadness is all you see. / But if you look around, you will / see that joy is everywhere.” López expands the simply delivered proposal in fresh and lyrical ways—beginning with paired scenes of the authors as solitary children growing up in very different circumstances on (as they put it) “opposite sides of the world,” then meeting as young friends bonded by streams of rainbow bunting and going on to share their exuberantly hued joy with a group of dancers diverse in terms of age, race, culture, and locale while urging readers to do the same. Though on the whole this comes off as a bit bland (the banter and hilarity that characterized the authors’ recorded interchanges are absent here) and their advice just to look away from the sad things may seem facile in view of what too many children are inescapably faced with, still, it’s hard to imagine anyone in the world more qualified to deliver such a message than these two. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Hundreds of pages of unbridled uplift boiled down to 40. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-48423-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2022

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Blandly inspirational fare made to evoke equally shrink-wrapped responses.

An NBA star pays tribute to the influence of his grandfather.

In the same vein as his Long Shot (2009), illustrated by Frank Morrison, this latest from Paul prioritizes values and character: “My granddad Papa Chilly had dreams that came true,” he writes, “so maybe if I listen and watch him, / mine will too.” So it is that the wide-eyed Black child in the simply drawn illustrations rises early to get to the playground hoops before anyone else, watches his elder working hard and respecting others, hears him cheering along with the rest of the family from the stands during games, and recalls in a prose afterword that his grandfather wasn’t one to lecture but taught by example. Paul mentions in both the text and the backmatter that Papa Chilly was the first African American to own a service station in North Carolina (his presumed dream) but not that he was killed in a robbery, which has the effect of keeping the overall tone positive and the instructional content one-dimensional. Figures in the pictures are mostly dark-skinned. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Blandly inspirational fare made to evoke equally shrink-wrapped responses. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-250-81003-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2022

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