Delicious! (period photograph, author’s note, timeline, selected bibliography of adult sources) (Picture book/biography. 6-9)


Miller shares the true story of the invention of the doughnut with the hole in its center.

Hanson Gregory began his career at sea in 1844, at age 13, eventually captaining cargo schooners and clippers. As cook’s assistant in 1847, while preparing the usual deep-fried cakes for breakfast, Hanson had an idea. The sailors called the cakes “sinkers”: they were crisp at the edges but raw and greasy in the middle. Using the lid from a pepper tin to cut a hole in each cake’s center, Hanson fried a batch of cakes that “were brown, and sweet, and fully cooked. Sighs of delight rose above the noisy sea. A new breakfast tradition was born.” The author’s research unfolds a couple of colorful, alternate legends of the doughnut’s seagoing origins, since, naturally, “sailors like their stories bold.” Miller also recounts comments that Capt. Gregory made in a 1916 newspaper interview. “He laughed as he teased the reporter that he had invented ‘the first hole ever seen by mortal eyes.’ ” Kirsch’s charming watercolor collages liberally employ round motifs: on many spreads, the circular illustration on the right page is “cut” from the left, freeing up a circle of white space for text. Endpapers sport scores of holey doughnuts, many decorated nautically, and semaphore flags on the copyright page spell out “eat doughnuts.” Kirsch does not, however, take the opportunity to represent the racial diversity of 19th-century sailing crews.

Delicious! (period photograph, author’s note, timeline, selected bibliography of adult sources) (Picture book/biography. 6-9)

Pub Date: May 3, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-31961-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2016

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Upbeat and celebratory—like Pops himself.



Cline-Ransome traces Armstrong’s storied arc, from an impoverished New Orleans childhood to his apex as a giant of jazz.

The episodic narrative, studded with place names, locates in “Little Louis’ ” tough early days the keys to his musical education. Louis helps his family by hauling coal, selling newspapers, and picking through garbage. New Orleans’ omnipresent music permeates his being: “Every day, outside his window, Little Louis listened up and down the streets, to the music of brass bands, funeral marches, honky-tonks on Saturday nights.” Captivated by brilliant cornetist Joe “King” Oliver, Louis buys a pawn-shop cornet, harmonizes in a street band—and runs afoul of the police once too often. Sent to the Colored Waif’s Home for Boys, Louis “missed his mama, his sister, and his cornet.” The facility has a performing band, however—and Louis wins over its teacher. In one of several interspersed (but undocumented) quotes, Armstrong quips: “Me and music got married at the home.” Released at 14, he apprentices with Oliver, plays in his bands, and follows him to Chicago and beyond. Ransome’s vivid, saturated paintings depict cityscapes and riverboats, framing Armstrong in windows and rectangular insets, and capturing the music’s joy in paradegoers’ faces. A nuanced author’s note features a detail about Louis’ uncorrected embouchure, and resources include eight well-annotated websites for multimedia study.

Upbeat and celebratory—like Pops himself. (Picture book/biography. 6-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3428-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2016

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A crisp historical vignette.



A boy experiences the Boston Tea Party, the response to the Intolerable Acts, and the battle at Breed’s Hill in Charlestown.

Philbrick has taken his Bunker Hill (2013), pulled from its 400 pages the pivotal moments, added a 12-year-old white boy—Benjamin Russell—as the pivot, and crafted a tale of what might have happened to him during those days of unrest in Boston from 1773 to 1775 (Russell was a real person). Philbrick explains, in plainspoken but gradually accelerating language, the tea tax, the Boston Tea Party, the Intolerable Acts, and the quartering of troops in Boston as well as the institution of a military government. Into this ferment, he introduces Benjamin Russell, where he went to school, his part-time apprenticeship at Isaiah Thomas’ newspaper, sledding down Beacon Hill, and the British officer who cleaned the cinders from the snow so the boys could sled farther and farther. It is these humanizing touches that make war its own intolerable act. Readers see Benjamin, courtesy of Minor’s misty gouache-and-watercolor tableaux, as he becomes stranded outside Boston Neck and becomes a clerk for the patriots. Significant characters are introduced, as is the geography of pre-landfilled Boston, to gain a good sense of why certain actions took place where they did. The final encounter at Breed’s Hill demonstrates how a battle can be won by retreating.

A crisp historical vignette. (maps, author’s note, illustrator’s note) (Historical fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: May 23, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-399-16674-7

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 14, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2017

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