SHOOTING FOR THE MOON

THE AMAZING LIFE AND TIMES OF ANNIE OAKLEY

The tiny (less than five feet tall) sharpshooter known as Annie Oakley began life as Phoebe Ann Mozee on an Ohio farm. At age eight, Annie, one of seven children, broke her nose from the kickback of the rifle she used to kill a cottontail rabbit to feed her family. After her father and one of her sisters died, Annie boarded with a couple to help care for their baby, but for two years they kept her a virtual prisoner and didn’t even let her write to her mother. She escaped, began supporting her family by supplying game to fancy hotels through a local grocery store, and at age 20 won the clay-pigeon shooting match against Frank Butler celebrated in song and story. Krensky follows Annie’s career through her marriage to Butler, her work in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, and her tours throughout the US and Europe. The quotes are apparently taken from Annie’s own diaries (credited in the acknowledgments) and have a richly authentic flavor. The deep-toned, soft-focus paintings make good use of gold and sepia; one of Annie’s most famous tricks, involving shooting glass balls, is brilliantly evoked in shadows, a puff of rifle smoke, and exploding glass shards. A terrific introduction to a historical character who was the heroine of her own fabulous tale. (author’s note) (Picture book/biography. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2001

ISBN: 0-374-36843-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Melanie Kroupa/Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2001

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26 FAIRMOUNT AVENUE

            The legions of fans who over the years have enjoyed dePaola’s autobiographical picture books will welcome this longer gathering of reminiscences.  Writing in an authentically childlike voice, he describes watching the new house his father was building go up despite a succession of disasters, from a brush fire to the hurricane of 1938.  Meanwhile, he also introduces family, friends, and neighbors, adds Nana Fall River to his already well-known Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs, remembers his first day of school (“ ‘ When do we learn to read?’  I asked.  ‘Oh, we don’t learn how to read in kindergarten.  We learn to read next year, in first grade.’  ‘Fine,’ I said.  ‘I’ll be back next year.’  And I walked right out of school.”), recalls holidays, and explains his indignation when the plot of Disney’s “Snow White” doesn’t match the story he knows.  Generously illustrated with vignettes and larger scenes, this cheery, well-knit narrative proves that an old dog can learn new tricks, and learn them surpassingly well.  (Autobiography.  7-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-399-23246-X

Page Count: 58

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1999

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She said, “Failure is impossible,” and she was right, but unfortunately her steely determination does not come through in...

SUSAN B. ANTHONY

Susan B. Anthony worked to win women the right to vote her whole long life, but she did not live to see it done.

Wallner uses her flat decorative style and rich matte colors to depict Susan B. Anthony’s life, layering on details: Susan catching snowflakes behind her parents’ house; working in her father’s mill (briefly) and then departing school when the money ran out; writing at her desk; speaking passionately in front of small groups and rowdy crowds. It’s a little too wordy and a little less than engaging in describing a life in which Anthony traveled alone, hired her own halls, spoke tirelessly about women’s suffrage, published, created forums where women could speak freely and was arrested for registering to vote. Her life-long friendship with suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton is touched on, as are the virulent attacks against her ideas and her person. She died in 1906. Votes for women did not come to pass in the United States until 1920.

She said, “Failure is impossible,” and she was right, but unfortunately her steely determination does not come through in this book. (timeline, bibliography, source notes) (Picture book/biography. 7-10)

Pub Date: March 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8234-1953-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2012

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