MARK TWAIN AND HUCKLEBERRY FINN

This is a well-written and illuminating picture-book length biography of a man whose humorous view of life and somewhat wild side appeal to readers of all ages. Children learn how after the untimely death of his father, Samuel Clemens went to work as an apprentice printer and was paid in room and board and “his boss’s cast-off clothing.” This led to working as a typesetter and finally to a career in journalism. Ross (Charlotte Brontâ and Jane Eyre, 1997, etc.) deftly demonstrates that this writer’s outstanding achievement was giving voice to the American spirit; his finest creation, Huckleberry Finn, praised the independent spirit above all. Himler’s evocative paintings and black-and-white line drawings portray the talent and genius of this American writer, against the landscapes and vistas that he made his own. (chronology, further reading) (Picture book/biography. 9-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-670-88181-3

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1999

ALL BY HERSELF

POEMS

Prose poems celebrate the feats of young heroines, some of them famous, and some not as well-known. Paul (Hello Toes! Hello Feet!, 1998, etc.) recounts moments in the lives of women such as Rachel Carson, Amelia Earhart, and Wilma Rudolph; these moments don’t necessarily reflect what made them famous as much as they are pivotal events in their youth that influenced the direction of their lives. For Earhart, it was sliding down the roof of the tool shed in a home-made roller coaster: “It’s like flying!” For Rudolph, it was the struggle to learn to walk without her foot brace. Other women, such as Violet Sheehy, who rescued her family from a fire in Hinckley, Minnesota, or Harriet Hanson, a union supporter in the fabric mills of Massachusetts, are celebrated for their brave decisions made under extreme duress. Steirnagle’s sweeping paintings powerfully exude the strength of character exhibited by these young women. A commemorative book, that honors both quiet and noisy acts of heroism. (Picture book/poetry. 6-9)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-15-201477-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1999

IF A BUS COULD TALK

THE STORY OF ROSA PARKS

Ringgold’s biography of Rosa Parks packs substantial material into a few pages, but with a light touch, and with the ring of authenticity that gives her act of weary resistance all the respect it deserves. Narrating the book is the bus that Parks took that morning 45 years ago; it recounts the signal events in Parks’s life to a young girl who boarded it to go to school. A decent amount of the material will probably be new to children, for Parks is so intimately associated with the Montgomery Bus Boycott that her work with the NAACP before the bus incident is often overlooked, as is her later role as a community activist in Detroit with Congressman John Conyers. Ringgold, through the bus, also informs readers of Parks’s youth in rural Alabama, where Klansmen and nightriders struck fear into the lives of African-Americans. These experiences make her refusal to release her seat all the more courageous, for the consequences of resistance were not gentle. All the events are depicted in emotive naive artwork that underscores their truth; Ringgold delivers Parks’s story without hyperbole, but rather as a life lived with pride, conviction, and consequence. (Picture book/biography. 5-9)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-689-81892-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1999

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