ISABEL ALLENDE

RECUERDOS PARA UN CUENTO/MEMORIES FOR A STORY

Meted colors and sharp black outlines characterize Molinari’s full-page illustrations for this brief biography of the noted Chilean author. The text, rendered in Spanish and English, focuses on the warm togetherness of Isabel’s extended family and her love for reading and telling stories. The key reference to her writing is the link between the séances that her grandmother conducted, when Isabel was just a girl, and La casa de los espíritus (The House of the Spirits), conceived, according to Benatar, as a sort of farewell letter to Isabel’s dying grandfather. The Chilean political instability that led to Allende’s flight from the country is mentioned, but the thrust of the narrative is family and imagination. Now that Allende has begun writing for adolescents as well as adults, her name will be more familiar to young readers than it would have been just a few years ago, and biographies of role models for girls are always in short supply. Appropriate for all elementary school collections, but especially in areas with Latino populations. (Picture book/biography. 6-9)

Pub Date: May 1, 2004

ISBN: 1-55885-379-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Piñata Books/Arte Público

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2004

IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT

A repressive teacher almost ruins second grade for a prodigy in this amusing, if overwritten, tale. Having shown a fascination with great buildings since constructing a model of the Leaning Tower of Pisa from used diapers at age two, Iggy sinks into boredom after Miss Greer announces, throwing an armload of histories and craft projects into the trash, that architecture will be a taboo subject in her class. Happily, she changes her views when the collapse of a footbridge leaves the picnicking class stranded on an island, whereupon Iggy enlists his mates to build a suspension bridge from string, rulers and fruit roll-ups. Familiar buildings and other structures, made with unusual materials or, on the closing pages, drawn on graph paper, decorate Roberts’s faintly retro cartoon illustrations. They add an audience-broadening element of sophistication—as would Beaty’s decision to cast the text into verse, if it did not result in such lines as “After twelve long days / that passed in a haze / of reading, writing and arithmetic, / Miss Greer took the class / to Blue River Pass / for a hike and an old-fashioned picnic.” Another John Lithgow she is not, nor is Iggy another Remarkable Farkle McBride (2000), but it’s always salutary to see young talent vindicated. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-8109-1106-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2007

RIVER STORY

Trickling, bubbling, swirling, rushing, a river flows down from its mountain beginnings, past peaceful country and bustling city on its way to the sea. Hooper (The Drop in My Drink, 1998, etc.) artfully evokes the water’s changing character as it transforms from “milky-cold / rattling-bold” to a wide, slow “sliding past mudflats / looping through marshes” to the end of its journey. Willey, best known for illustrating Geraldine McCaughrean’s spectacular folk-tale collections, contributes finely detailed scenes crafted in shimmering, intricate blues and greens, capturing mountain’s chill, the bucolic serenity of passing pastures, and a sense of mystery in the water’s shadowy depths. Though Hooper refers to “the cans and cartons / and bits of old wood” being swept along, there’s no direct conservation agenda here (for that, see Debby Atwell’s River, 1999), just appreciation for the river’s beauty and being. (Picture book/nonfiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: June 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-7636-0792-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2000

Close Quickview