A starscape filled with visual drama and brilliance.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • Coretta Scott King Book Award Winner

FIREBIRD

A dancer offers encouragement to those who dream of following her onto the stage.

Copeland, a soloist with American Ballet Theater, is a rara avis, an African-American ballerina. In this, her first book for children, she establishes a dialogue with an imaginary young girl, also black, who is full of doubts. Copeland assures her that she too was “a dreaming shooting star of a girl” who worked very hard in class. Likewise, the young girl can “become a swan, a beauty, a firebird for sure.” The text is untrammeled by capital letters or periods, and the language soars into dizzying heights of lyrical fancy that barely contain her message of inspiration. Myers’ artwork, a combination of textured paintings and collage, is the true standout. His vibrant reds, golds and blues, set into the sharp-edged patterns of the backgrounds, evoke the intense drama of the Firebird ballet and pulsate with kinetic synergy. Double-page spreads depict the young girl maturing from loneliness to uncertainty to accomplishment as the ballerina practices at the barre and provides a one-on-one display of bravura technique. The New York City skyline sparkles as Copeland does jetés over a jeweled Brooklyn Bridge.

A starscape filled with visual drama and brilliance. (author’s note) (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-399-16615-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: June 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A welcome, well-researched reflection of cultural pride in the early-reader landscape.

RAFI AND ROSI MUSIC!

From the Rafi and Rosi series

The fourth installment in Delacre’s early-reader series centers on the rich musical traditions of Puerto Rico, once again featuring sibling tree frogs Rafi and Rosi Coquí.

Readers learn along with Rafi and Rosi as they explore bomba, plena, and salsa in three chapters. A glossary at the beginning sets readers up well to understand the Spanish vocabulary, including accurate phoneticization for non-Spanish speakers. The stories focus on Rafi and Rosi’s relationship within a musical context. For example, in one chapter Rafi finds out that he attracts a larger audience playing his homemade güiro with Rosi’s help even though he initially excluded her: “Big brothers only.” Even when he makes mistakes, as the older brother, Rafi consoles Rosi when she is embarrassed or angry at him. In each instance, their shared joy for music and dance ultimately shines through any upsets—a valuable reflection of unity. Informational backmatter and author’s sources are extensive. Undoubtedly these will help teachers, librarians, and parents to develop Puerto Rican cultural programs, curriculum, or home activities to extend young readers’ learning. The inclusion of instructions to make one’s own homemade güiro is a thoughtful addition. The Spanish translation, also by Delacre and published simultaneously, will require a more advanced reader than the English one to recognize and comprehend contractions (“pa’bajo-pa-pa’rriba”) and relatively sophisticated vocabulary.

A welcome, well-researched reflection of cultural pride in the early-reader landscape. (Early reader. 7-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-89239-429-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Children's Book Press

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A rallying cry for anyone looking for a strong example of perseverance.

MAYA AND THE BEAST

Brazilian surfer Gabeira offers a fictionalized version of her childhood with this story of an adventurous young girl who overcomes sexism and self-doubt to become a great athlete.

The inhabitants of the fishing village of Nazaré, Portugal, are in awe of a massive wave known as the Beast. A young villager named Maya has asthma and brings medicine with her wherever she goes; though shy, Maya finds fulfillment when moving her body during dancing, gymnastics, and swimming. Having grown up hearing about the Beast, she goes to see it for herself and is in awe of the massive wave, though she also notices boys surfing on it. Maya decides to try surfing, which her father encourages. The boys at the beach tell her surfing is no sport for girls, and she nearly believes them until a voice in a seashell tells her not to give up. Both text and illustrations offer a stirring account of Maya’s journey to surfing mastery. The Beast begins as a spectacle from afar, filling the page with its sheer scope. Maya is often framed within or beneath its crest, including a wonderful scene of her would-be hecklers watching dumbfounded as she joyously surfs ahead of them. Maya and her family are brown-skinned; for the most part, other residents of Nazaré range in skin color from tan to brown. In an author’s note, Gabeira describes growing up in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and, in 2007, setting a Guinness record for the largest wave ever surfed at Praia de Norte in Nazaré. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A rallying cry for anyone looking for a strong example of perseverance. (Picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-4197-6000-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more