An interesting, informative introduction to an unknown woman trailblazer.

Jo wanted to become a doctor, quite uncommon for a girl in late-19th-century America.

Jo had her opportunity when doctors Elizabeth and Emily Blackwell opened a medical school for women. When she graduated, she opened a practice in New York City with a woman colleague, Florence, but few patients came. Jo became a health inspector for the city and was assigned to Hell’s Kitchen, a poor, crowded immigrant neighborhood where there was a high death rate among babies and young children. Dr. Jo found practical solutions to many problems, using her official capacity to implement them. She established a requirement that midwives be trained and licensed and assigned visiting nurses to new mothers. She organized milk stations, designed safe containers for silver nitrate eyedrops for newborns, and designed safe infant clothing that allowed movement and airflow. Kulling employs accessible language and follows a logical sequence of events to provide readers with an understanding of Baker’s strength of character. Swaney’s watercolor, gouache, and colored-pencil illustrations carefully complement the events and settings of the text. Baker and Florence are white, and the people of Hell’s Kitchen are depicted in a variety of skin tones, but otherwise all the faces are the same with little indication of emotion, just dots for eyes and little swoops for smiles.

An interesting, informative introduction to an unknown woman trailblazer. (afterword, sources, websites) (Picture book/biography. 7-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 9, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-101-91789-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tundra Books

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018


This tale’s jokes and triumphant ending will delight young readers.

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A lactose-intolerant tooth fairy saves the day in this gleefully gross picture-book debut.

Following one simple rule on the first day of tooth-fairy school shouldn’t be hard; all Irma has to do is avoid dairy, which will upset her stomach. But when she gets milk and crackers for a snack on the school bus, she doesn’t want to stand out. She drinks the milk but pays the price—squirming when she’s supposed to be paying attention in class, then letting “out a toot / that was long, loud, and smelly.” The other kids laugh, and the teacher scolds Irma, reckoning that a flatulent fairy won’t be able to collect teeth unnoticed. At every turn, Irma fails—until a too-high window has the tooth fairies stymied and Irma’s toots save the day. This book’s concept isn’t unique, but Donnelly’s sometimes-clever rhymes, which offer toot-related vocabulary (farted, flatulate), scan well, and designer/letterer Dukeshire lays out stanzas for easy rhyming despite omitted punctuation. Van Gool’s delightful illustrations have the feel of an animated cartoon; characters almost leap off the page. The tooth-fairy children share similar body types, but their skin tones are a range of colors. Irma’s flatulence is a fantastically gross green cloud sure to delight potty-humor fans.

This tale’s jokes and triumphant ending will delight young readers.

Pub Date: Nov. 23, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-578-77309-4

Page Count: 36

Publisher: BookBaby

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2020


From the Helper Hounds series

For instructional, therapeutic reading, with a dog narrator as the spoonful of sugar.

A child who can’t safely return to in-person schooling learns focus from a well-trained Lakeland terrier.

Despite all his “zoomies” and “wiggles,” Brisket is an excellent Helper Hound. After he was adopted by Luke, a White American man then living in London, Brisket became a medal-winning pup in his obedience drills. Now he and Luke live in America and work in animal-assisted therapy. Wearing his Helper Hounds vest, Brisket demonstrates his focus and attention for Miryam, an immunocompromised child who can’t return to normal school yet. In the illustrations—which depict adults rather like tall children—Miryam and her father, Malik, have pale skin and straight, dark hair. Luke explains to them how the skills that make Brisket excel at obedience drills might also help Miryam with remote schooling. Frequent breaks for Miryam and Brisket to run and play (getting their “zooooooomies out”) keep this story from becoming a lesson in how a child should behave like an obedient pet. Illustrations of Luke, Miryam, and Malik wearing masks, together with discussion of both children with health concerns and the difficulties of remote schooling, provide value for readers whose early education has been so utterly strange. One major continuity problem and some indifferent prose aside, reading about Miryam’s problems could comfort readers who’ve experienced the strangeness of pandemic school and medical fears. Tips on focusing and further facts about Lakeland terriers follow the story. Series companion Louis Helps Ajani Fight Racism publishes simultaneously.

For instructional, therapeutic reading, with a dog narrator as the spoonful of sugar. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-64371-080-8

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Red Chair Press

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2021

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