Entirely inappropriate for children.

READ REVIEW

CONFEDERATE ALPHABET

Aimed less at children and more at Southern sympathizers, this alphabet book is an ill-conceived paean to the Confederacy.

Each letter of the alphabet is accompanied by an illustration and a short, often limping verse, most of which feature people and events that will be unfamiliar to today’s young readers (not to mention the general adult population, Civil War buffs notwithstanding). Unfortunately, the text lacks explanatory notes to give these items context and fails to provide an overarching narrative of the polemical version of the Civil War story it seems to take for granted. Take F, for example: “F is for the flags / Of the old Confederacy; / And for Nathan Bedford Forrest / A devil to every Yankee!” No further description of Forrest or his role in the war is forthcoming. Further, the narrator’s intense identification with the Confederate cause comes through clearly when he uses the first person (“D is for bright ‘Dixie,’ / A song we love to hear”) and in verses such as, “Y is for the Yankees, / The enemy in blue, / Invading beloved Dixie / To conquer and subdue.” Slavery is not mentioned in the text, yet the illustrations feature white and black soldiers fighting side by side for the Confederacy as well as a black woman comforting a white child as flames rage in the background. Absent historical context and competing perspectives, this far-from-center picture book lacks educational or entertainment value and is little more than propaganda designed to perpetuate “the South will rise again” mentality.

Entirely inappropriate for children. (song lyrics, timeline) (Nonfiction. 6-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-58980-760-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Pelican

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Amusing, yes. Useful for reading practice, yes, but not necessarily guaranteed to make new readers the “read-i-est.” (Early...

WE ARE GROWING!

From the Elephant & Piggie Like Reading! series

Elephant and Piggie make an appearance to introduce the first in their new series, an egalitarian introduction to superlatives.

Each one of seven blades of talking grass—of a total of eight—discovers that it is superb at something: it’s tallest, curliest, silliest, and so forth. The humor aims to appeal to a broad spectrum. It is slightly disturbing that one being eaten by purple bugs is proud of being the crunchiest, but that will certainly appeal to a slice of the audience. The eighth blade of grass is grappling with a philosophical identity crisis; its name is Walt, a sly reference to Whitman's Leaves of Grass that will go right over the heads of beginning readers but may amuse astute parents or teachers. Tension builds with the approach of a lawn mower; the blades of grass lose their unique features when they are trimmed to equal heights. Mercifully, they are chopped off right above the eyes and can continue their silly banter. Departing from the image of a Whitman-esque free spirit, Walt now discovers he is the neatest. Lots of speech bubbles, repetition, and clear layout make this entry a useful addition to lessons on adjectives and superlatives while delivering a not-so-subtle message that everyone is good at something. Elephant and Piggie's final assertion that “this book is the FUNNIEST” doesn't necessarily make it so, however.

Amusing, yes. Useful for reading practice, yes, but not necessarily guaranteed to make new readers the “read-i-est.” (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 20, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4847-2635-8

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A treasure house of mysteries large and small.

EVERYBODY COUNTS

A COUNTING STORY FROM 0 TO 7.5 BILLION

This Norwegian import is guaranteed to silence boastful Where’s Waldo grads.

It opens on a woodsy nature scene for zero, “No one,” before moving to a deceptively simple one (1) child in a bedroom who next joins his dad (2) for a forest outing. The count continues—by single digits to 30, then by various intervals to 1,000—on to depict crowd scenes in locales ranging from a library to a life drawing class, with many individualized figures (of diverse body type, skin tone, and hair texture and color) recurring. Inconspicuous captions below each picture offer either pointers to subtle visual cues or invitations to speculate about what they see. Of the 20 children in a classroom, for instance, “One of them is thinking about all the people who’ve lived before us. One of them has lost the class teddy bear. One of them is dreading football training. One of them will become prime minister.” Roskifte supplies some solutions, along with additional scenarios, at the close. She also gives viewers a bit of an assist by coloring in her small, doll-like humans throughout but leaving everything else as pale outlines. Switching at the end to a big blue marble floating in space, she rounds off the numbering with 7.5 billion followed by a barrage of leading questions, from what became of that lost teddy to lifelong posers, including the poignant “Does everyone share the same truth?”

A treasure house of mysteries large and small. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7112-4524-2

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more