Gertie’s heartwarming tale delights and distracts today as it did in 1945.


War-worried Midwesterners rally round an imperiled fowl family.

By choosing to nest in an exceptionally risky public spot—far above the dirty Milwaukee River—darling Gertie offers a perfect distraction to humans in the last anxious days of World War II. Protective heroes—bridge tenders who rescue the mallard and her six cute ducklings in bad weather—ensure a happy ending: After a brief period on display in a department-store window, Gertie and her family are released into a nearby park. From the first high duck’s-eye view, we are drawn into her story through careful, sepia-toned illustrations that seem lifted out of an old scrapbook. Everyone dresses soberly; quotes from people are sourced. An occasional brown face can be seen in the crowds, but most are light-skinned. Varied perspectives, including close-ups of Gertie, atmospheric changing weather, and rich background details, pique interest. Strong backmatter, with archival photos, provides historical background, focusing first on the role of women and children in the war effort and then on the extraordinary efforts of Milwaukee officials and residents to save and celebrate Gertie and her offspring. Like Robert McCloskey’s Make Way for Ducklings (1941), this is a nonanthropomorphized animal story featuring caring humans. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Gertie’s heartwarming tale delights and distracts today as it did in 1945. (Informational picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: March 15, 2023

ISBN: 9781534111714

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2022

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A larger-than-life subject is neatly captured in text and images.


The life journey of the first African American to serve on the United States Supreme Court and the incidents that formed him.

Thurgood Marshall grew up in segregated Baltimore, Maryland, with a family that encouraged him to stand for justice. Despite attending poor schools, he found a way to succeed. His father instilled in him a love of the law and encouraged him to argue like a lawyer during dinner conversations. His success in college meant he could go to law school, but the University of Maryland did not accept African American students. Instead, Marshall went to historically black Howard University, where he was mentored by civil rights lawyer Charles Houston. Marshall’s first major legal case was against the law school that denied him a place, and his success brought him to the attention of the NAACP and ultimately led to his work on the groundbreaking Brown v. Board of Education, which itself led to his appointment to the Supreme Court. This lively narrative serves as an introduction to the life of one of the country’s important civil rights figures. Important facts in Marshall’s life are effectively highlighted in an almost staccato fashion. The bold watercolor-and-collage illustrations, beginning with an enticing cover, capture and enhance the strong tone set by the words.

A larger-than-life subject is neatly captured in text and images. (author’s note, photos) (Picture book/biography. 5-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6533-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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Big and likely to draw a large audience both for its subject and the plethora of interactive doodads.


An outsized overview of animal types, senses, and common characteristics liberally endowed with flaps, pull-tabs, and like furbelows.

Della Malva’s realistically drawn animals crowd sturdy leaves large enough to feature life-size (or nearly so) images of the folded wings of a sea gull and a macaw, and Baumann fills the gaps between with meaty descriptive comments. On every page elements that lift, unfold, pop up, or spin aren’t just slapped on, but actively contribute to the presentation. On a “Birth and Growing” spread, for instance, each of six eggs from ostrich to platypus is a flap with an embryo beneath; a spinner presents a slideshow of a swallowtail’s life cycle from egg to adult; and no fewer than three attached booklets expand on the general topic using other species. Subsequent spreads cover animal sight, hearing, body coverings, grasping and touch, locomotion, and—centering on a startling gander down the pop-up maw of a wolf—eating. The animals and relevant body parts are all clearly labeled, and the text is pitched to serve equally well both casual browsers (“Even fish pee!”) and young zoologists seriously interested in the difference between “scales” and “scutes” or curious about the range of insect-mouth shapes.

Big and likely to draw a large audience both for its subject and the plethora of interactive doodads. (Informational novelty. 6-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 31, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-68464-281-6

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2021

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