An impressive and delightful combination of visual and verbal storytelling evokes empathy and identification with the young...

READ REVIEW

DAISY SAVES THE DAY

A girl’s time “in service” in a London house offers young readers a glimpse of life below-stairs in 1911.

Daisy Dobbs is very young when she leaves home to take the position as scullery maid her mother has found for her in a fine London town house. Elderly sisters, the Misses Simms, are her employers, but it is the cook and the parlor maid who tell Daisy what to do. Friendly Mabel Simms, a grown niece visiting from America just in time for the coronation of George V, becomes Daisy’s champion. Mabel intercedes to let Daisy borrow books from her aunts’ library. Mabel defends Daisy against the aunts’ outrage when, left alone on the coronation day, she constructs a tricolor decoration from the laundry pile—including the elderly sisters’ red-flannel bloomers—and hangs it from a window in a burst of celebratory feeling. And Mabel finds a way to salvage her aunts’ dignity and yet free Daisy to go back home and attend school after Daisy heroically saves the household from a kitchen fire. Daisy comes across as a determined little soul in her mob cap and sturdy shoes. Hughes’ ink, gouache, and watercolor art offers details both small and broad, perfectly pitched to young readers. Capturing Daisy’s experience, vignettes of the girl at work toting and scrubbing give way to a full-page illustration of Daisy at rest in her garret bedroom, reading.

An impressive and delightful combination of visual and verbal storytelling evokes empathy and identification with the young heroine. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7323-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Sincere and wholehearted.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

I PROMISE

The NBA star offers a poem that encourages curiosity, integrity, compassion, courage, and self-forgiveness.

James makes his debut as a children’s author with a motivational poem touting life habits that children should strive for. In the first-person narration, he provides young readers with foundational self-esteem encouragement layered within basketball descriptions: “I promise to run full court and show up each time / to get right back up and let my magic shine.” While the verse is nothing particularly artful, it is heartfelt, and in her illustrations, Mata offers attention-grabbing illustrations of a diverse and enthusiastic group of children. Scenes vary, including classrooms hung with student artwork, an asphalt playground where kids jump double Dutch, and a gym populated with pint-sized basketball players, all clearly part of one bustling neighborhood. Her artistry brings black and brown joy to the forefront of each page. These children evince equal joy in learning and in play. One particularly touching double-page spread depicts two vignettes of a pair of black children, possibly siblings; in one, they cuddle comfortably together, and in the other, the older gives the younger a playful noogie. Adults will appreciate the closing checklist of promises, which emphasize active engagement with school. A closing note very generally introduces principles that underlie the Lebron James Family Foundation’s I Promise School (in Akron, Ohio). (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at 15% of actual size.)

Sincere and wholehearted. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-297106-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

Aims high but falls flat.

WILD SYMPHONY

Through 20 short poems, Maestro Mouse invites readers to meet a series of animals who have lessons to impart and a symphony to perform.

Brown, author of The DaVinci Code (2003) and other wildly popular titles for adults, here offers young listeners a poetry collection accompanied by music: a “symphony” performed, for readers equipped with an audio device and an internet connection, by the Zagreb Festival Orchestra. From the introduction of the conductor and the opening “Woodbird Welcome” to the closing “Cricket Lullaby,” the writer/composer uses poems made of three to eight rhyming couplets, each line with four strong beats, to introduce the animals who will be revealed in the final double gatefold as the players in an all-animal orchestra. Each poem also contains a lesson, reinforced by a short message (often on a banner or signpost). Thus, “When life trips them up a bit, / Cats just make the best of it” concludes the poem “Clumsy Kittens,” which is encapsulated by “Falling down is part of life. The best thing to do is get back on your feet!” The individual songs and poems may appeal to the intended audience, but collectively they don’t have enough variety to be read aloud straight through. Nor does the gathering of the orchestra provide a narrative arc. Batori’s cartoon illustrations are whimsically engaging, however. They include puzzles: hard-to-find letters that are said to form anagrams of instrument names and a bee who turns up somewhere in every scene.

Aims high but falls flat. (Complete composition not available for review.) (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12384-3

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Rodale Kids

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more