The text is unflinching: "Wars are always brutal. No matter who starts one, innocent people die even children like Shin."

SHIN'S TRICYCLE

Fifty years later it is still hard to tell children the story of the US bombing of Hiroshima.

This restrained and heartfelt picture book can help adults begin that task. A beautiful, arresting cover provides a key to the content: In the foreground a small boy scoots along on the back of red tricycle; he travels through the heavens and into a flock of doves; in the background a chillingly familiar mushroom cloud rises from the city. Kodama, in a text suffused with sadness and painful memory, relates the true story of Nobuo Tetsutani's son, three- year-old Shin, who, along with two sisters and his best friend, died on August 6, 1945. Told in the first-person voice of a grieving father, the story tells how the boy wanted a tricycle, scarce during the war, and was still gripping its handle when he was dug from the rubble of the blast. Forty years after that, Shin's father and mother find among the white bones of their children's graves the tricycle, which they had forgotten completely. A brief author's note appears with photographs of the real Shin and the charred, half-melted tricycle now on display at the Hiroshima Peace Museum. The text and, notably, the expertly rendered, polished paintings are far from sentimental. Readers are given a vivid impression of the blast, light, heat, fire, ash, and darkness. Yes, this is strong stuff, impossibly sad, and no one will get through a reading of it unmoved.

The text is unflinching: "Wars are always brutal. No matter who starts one, innocent people die even children like Shin." (Picture book/nonfiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 1995

ISBN: 0-8027-8375-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Walker

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1995

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

TWENTY-ONE ELEPHANTS AND STILL STANDING

Strong rhythms and occasional full or partial rhymes give this account of P.T. Barnum’s 1884 elephant parade across the newly opened Brooklyn Bridge an incantatory tone. Catching a whiff of public concern about the new bridge’s sturdiness, Barnum seizes the moment: “’I will stage an event / that will calm every fear, erase every worry, / about that remarkable bridge. / My display will amuse, inform / and astound some. / Or else my name isn’t Barnum!’” Using a rich palette of glowing golds and browns, Roca imbues the pachyderms with a calm solidity, sending them ambling past equally solid-looking buildings and over a truly monumental bridge—which soars over a striped Big Top tent in the final scene. A stately rendition of the episode, less exuberant, but also less fictionalized, than Phil Bildner’s Twenty-One Elephants (2004), illustrated by LeUyen Pham. (author’s note, resource list) (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2005

ISBN: 0-618-44887-X

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2005

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

THE STORY OF EASTER

First published in 1968 and newly illustrated by Vitale, this is a history of the Christian celebration of Easter that, after briefly recounting the story of the Resurrection, links the holiday to other spring festivals, covers the ancient custom of giving the gift of an egg (a symbol of the new life of spring), and includes contemporary customs, such as the fashionable stroll down New York City's Fifth Avenue after church on that day. Also included are instructions for egg decoration and a recipe for hot cross buns. Even the recipe demonstrates the clear, informative prose of Fisher, whose expert organization leads from topic to topic. Vitale's illustrations are a marvel; each full-page picture is filled with details that reflect the times, the flora, and the culture of the era shown, colored with a range of appropriate earth tones. Every element of design makes this an inviting addition to the holiday shelf, even for those already owning the original book with Ati Forberg's illustrations. (Picture book/nonfiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 1997

ISBN: 0-06-027296-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1996

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more