Comprising 24 pages, the narrative closes a bit abruptly; nonetheless, this is a dynamic and creative introduction to a...



Coinciding with the Museum of Modern Art’s exhibition of Jacob Lawrence’s Migration series, this title imagines the artist as a young teenager experiencing his own move from Philadelphia to Harlem in 1930.

With just a few sentences per spread, historian Rhodes-Pitts describes Jake’s reactions to the colors and textures of once-familiar furnishings—things he has been separated from since his mother sought work in New York three years earlier: “His feet sink deep into the thick blue rug. When his toes touch the ground, it’s like a sky upside down.” Perhaps to suggest that the adolescent is already thinking artistically or that he is noticing his stimulating milieu, Myers inserts sly visual references to 20th-century painters. In addition to Matisse and Miró, he pays homage to O’Keeffe as the boy peers into “Starlight Night” through his window. Vibrant hues and diagonal elements animate the straightforward accounts of street-corner preachers and checkers players. The author adopts a more lyrical tone as Jake visits the Utopia Children’s House for art classes after school. In the penultimate scene, Myers depicts the young man building his neighborhood inside a shoebox with figures that foreshadow the compositions in the final spread of five Migration scenes.

Comprising 24 pages, the narrative closes a bit abruptly; nonetheless, this is a dynamic and creative introduction to a groundbreaking artist and an iconic collection. (biographical note, selected works, museum trustees) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: June 30, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-87070-965-4

Page Count: 44

Publisher: MoMA

Review Posted Online: Aug. 25, 2015

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Innocuous adventuring on the smallest of scales.


From the Adventures of Henry Whiskers series , Vol. 1

The Mouse and the Motorcycle (1965) upgrades to The Mice and the Rolls-Royce.

In Windsor Castle there sits a “dollhouse like no other,” replete with working plumbing, electricity, and even a full library of real, tiny books. Called Queen Mary’s Dollhouse, it also plays host to the Whiskers family, a clan of mice that has maintained the house for generations. Henry Whiskers and his cousin Jeremy get up to the usual high jinks young mice get up to, but when Henry’s little sister Isabel goes missing at the same time that the humans decide to clean the house up, the usually bookish big brother goes on the adventure of his life. Now Henry is driving cars, avoiding cats, escaping rats, and all before the upcoming mouse Masquerade. Like an extended version of Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Two Bad Mice (1904), Priebe keeps this short chapter book constantly moving, with Duncan’s peppy art a cute capper. Oddly, the dollhouse itself plays only the smallest of roles in this story, and no factual information on the real Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House is included at the tale’s end (an opportunity lost).

Innocuous adventuring on the smallest of scales. (Fantasy. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-6575-5

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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A stunning, honest, yet age-appropriate depiction of historical injustice.


Giddens’ song commemorating the 155th anniversary of Juneteenth is adapted into a picture book centering history and resilience.

Written in second person, the story begins “You brought me here / to build your house” and depicts a Black family joining enslaved Black laborers in a field, transported and supervised by a White person. The family helps the others lay bricks and pick cotton until they are sent away, with the White person gesturing for them to leave (“you told me… // GO”). Against a backdrop of green fields and blue mountains, the family finds “a place / To build my house,” enjoying freedom, until “you said I couldn’t / Build a house / And so you burnt it…// DOWN.” Beside the ashes, the family writes a song; images depict instruments and musical notes being pulled from the family; and another illustration shows White people dancing and playing. The family travels “far and wide” and finds a new place where they can write a song and “put my story down.” Instruments in hand, the family establishes itself once again in the land. This deeply moving portrait of the push and pull of history is made concrete through Mikai’s art, which features bright green landscapes, expressive faces, and ultimately hopeful compositions. Giddens’ powerful, spare poetry, spanning centuries of American history, is breathtaking. Readers who discover her music through this book and the online recording (included as a QR code) will be forever glad they picked up this book. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A stunning, honest, yet age-appropriate depiction of historical injustice. (afterword) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 11, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5362-2252-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 7, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2022

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