Full of conviction, wisdom, and essential truths.

BECOMING A GOOD CREATURE

Life lessons for young humans gleaned from a lifetime living with other creatures.

Reprised for young readers from Montgomery’s memoir (for adults) How To Be a Good Creature, this picture book’s message is concise and clear: Humans are only one of many creatures to inhabit the Earth, and knowing, respecting, and learning from other creatures will help humans become better creatures themselves. The organization of the story is also clear and concise: A short piece of advice is augmented by a brief story relayed in accessible, direct language from the author’s personal experiences in a lifetime of observing and being around other creatures. “Make Your Own Family” describes the author’s family of hens, a dog, a pig, a husband, and neighbors; the poignant “Trust Tomorrow” relates a dark period that lightened with the unexpected arrival of a dog; and “See For Yourself” relays the author’s observations of the gentleness of the oft-reviled hyena. Other topics include seeking similarity, forgiveness, and the importance of small creatures. Avoiding triteness, the narrative establishes a connection between humans and other creatures as it teaches that respect for the animal world is a good way to become a good human, too. Green’s visually pleasing illustrations are rendered in a warm, earth-hued palette, and they have an uncomplicated design that effectively complements the story’s wise, authentic narrative. Montgomery presents White.

Full of conviction, wisdom, and essential truths. (Picture book/memoir. 3-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-358-25210-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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

THURGOOD

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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A good choice for a late fall storytime.

SNACK, SNOOZE, SKEDADDLE

HOW ANIMALS GET READY FOR WINTER

Animal behaviors change as they prepare to face the winter.

Migrate, hibernate, or tolerate. With smooth rhymes and jaunty illustrations, Salas and Gévry introduce three strategies animals use for coping with winter cold. The author’s long experience in imparting information to young readers is evident in her selection of familiar animals and in her presentation. Spread by spread she introduces her examples, preparing in fall and surviving in winter. She describes two types of migration: Hummingbirds and monarchs fly, and blue whales travel to the warmth of the south; earthworms burrow deeper into the earth. Without using technical words, she introduces four forms of hibernation—chipmunks nap and snack; bears mainly sleep; Northern wood frogs become an “icy pop,” frozen until spring; and normally solitary garter snakes snuggle together in huge masses. Those who can tolerate the winter still change behavior. Mice store food and travel in tunnels under the snow; moose grow a warmer kind of fur; the red fox dives into the snow to catch small mammals (like those mice); and humans put on warm clothes and play. The animals in the soft pastel illustrations are recognizable, more cuddly than realistic, and quite appealing; their habitats are stylized. The humans represent varied ethnicities. Each page includes two levels of text, and there’s further information in the extensive backmatter. Pair with Joyce Sidman and Rick Allen’s Winter Bees (2014).

A good choice for a late fall storytime. (glossary) (Informational picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5415-2900-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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