Dr. Ruth’s life story is one of survival and persistence and deserves a better telling than this.

READ REVIEW

ROLLER COASTER GRANDMA

A graphic biography of noted sex expert Dr. Ruth.

Dr. Ruth Westheimer was born in Germany in 1928 as Karola Ruth Siegel. Nowadays, the diminutive, humorous TV and radio personality is best known for dispensing practical information about relationships and human sexuality. Westheimer collaborates with Lehu on this unusual graphic novel, which mixes a fictional narrative with memoir. The fictional Dr. Ruth is on an outing with her teenage grandchildren at an amusement park, rendered in full color in a cartoon style reminiscent of juvenile government information brochures of the 1960s. A cheerful Dr. Ruth, clad in a bright pink blazer, walks through a scary haunted house, tries the games on the midway, goes on rides, and plays miniature golf. Each of these activities prompts Dr. Ruth to share a sometimes-harrowing story of her past: of growing up in Nazi Germany, as a refugee child in Switzerland, as a teenage kibbutznik in Palestine just before Israel’s statehood, and as an immigrant to the United States, where she returns to school and earns her master’s degree and doctorate. Simmons illustrates the memoir segments in sepia tones with washes of gray and lavender; it’s almost as if the past is a black-and-white movie in contrast to the colorful present. The work for which the audience’s caregivers will know Dr. Ruth goes largely unmentioned, and the uneasy juxtaposition of the amusement-park frame with Dr. Ruth’s early years undercuts the recounting of events that shaped her.

Dr. Ruth’s life story is one of survival and persistence and deserves a better telling than this. (timeline, discussion questions) (Graphic memoir. 7-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68115-532-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Apples & Honey Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

These tales, full of jokes and wisdom, demonstrate why the wise fool is a perennially appealing character.

RIDING A DONKEY BACKWARDS

WISE AND FOOLISH TALES OF MULLA NASRUDDIN

Mulla Nasruddin is a foolish man who is also known to be very clever sometimes.

Taylor and the U.K.’s Khayaal Theatre invite readers to meet the Middle Eastern Muslim folk character Nasruddin, also revealing that he is known by other names and plays many roles. In these 21 short tales, he appears as a husband, a neighbor, an imam, a young student, and more. One tale reveals an amusing, clever young Nasruddin falling asleep in class and failing to complete the assignment, a picture. When he shows his teacher a blank paper, he says, “I drew a donkey eating grass,” claiming the grass was eaten by the donkey and “There was no more grass….So the donkey left!” In another, Nasruddin climbs into the bed of a robber who broke into his house and stole his furniture: “I thought we were moving to your house,” he says blandly. Readers learn: why, when begging, Nasruddin takes a silver coin rather than a gold one and why, as an imam, he leaves the mosque without giving a sermon. In Adl’s illustrations, Nasruddin has a long white cottony beard and wears a turban. Her use of electric-bright colors (orange, green, yellow, blue) exemplifies Nasruddin’s eccentricity, while photocollaged textures add further interest. A short glossary is included, but sources are not.

These tales, full of jokes and wisdom, demonstrate why the wise fool is a perennially appealing character. (Folktales. 7-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0507-7

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A candid introduction to a little-known figure in Jewish American history.

JUDAH TOURO DIDN'T WANT TO BE FAMOUS

The successful business life and subsequent philanthropy of one of early America’s wealthiest and most pious Jews are recounted in a picture-book biography.

Raised by his uncle, Isaac Hays, a founder of Boston’s first bank, Judah learned much about shipping, real estate, and trade before setting off on his own at the dawn of the 19th century. A quiet, private man, Judah made his fortune in New Orleans trading New England products. After being wounded during the War of 1812, Judah began to concentrate on putting his wealth toward charitable causes. Simply drawn illustrations in muted brown, gray, and blue hues have both a childlike feel and the look of crayons or colored pencil in combination with watercolor; this results in a humble view not often seen in representations of New Orleans and appropriately reflects the story’s themes. The easy-flowing narrative tells how this son of a rabbi in a Sephardic immigrant family adhered to the Jewish tradition of giving inconspicuously, to causes both local and all over the world, hoping to avoid recognition for his good deeds. Some of these were paying for the freedom of enslaved African Americans, a few of whom are included in one illustration alongside the pale-skinned Judah. The author’s notes provide some added information about the benefactor’s family and his legacy.

A candid introduction to a little-known figure in Jewish American history. (Picture book/biography. 7-9)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5415-4561-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kar-Ben

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet