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A STORY OF FREEDOM

Spare language and vibrant art present a powerful message of hope during American slavery, through a mother’s sacrifice and her gift of freedom. From her young daughter’s perspective, readers learn of the brutal labor and punishment her mother endures. While the child witnesses slavery’s atrocities during the day, her mother returns each evening to sew a quilt. She explains that each square symbolizes the road out of bondage; the central patch depicts a little girl who is “the most loved in all the world.” Mixed-media illustrations capture the mother’s urgency as she leads her daughter to the Underground Railroad, her red kerchief the dominant detail against the dark night sky. While the mother returns to her life in slavery alone, a golden lantern shines against the vast imposing background. Cabrera’s rich acrylic paintings and textile collage add immediacy to the gripping text. An unflinching depiction of slavery’s impact on families, this selection’s reassuring message of love shatters all bonds. (author’s note, further resources) (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 12, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-618-41903-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2008

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Innocuous adventuring on the smallest of scales.

THE ADVENTURES OF HENRY WHISKERS

From the Adventures of Henry Whiskers series , Vol. 1

The Mouse and the Motorcycle (1965) upgrades to The Mice and the Rolls-Royce.

In Windsor Castle there sits a “dollhouse like no other,” replete with working plumbing, electricity, and even a full library of real, tiny books. Called Queen Mary’s Dollhouse, it also plays host to the Whiskers family, a clan of mice that has maintained the house for generations. Henry Whiskers and his cousin Jeremy get up to the usual high jinks young mice get up to, but when Henry’s little sister Isabel goes missing at the same time that the humans decide to clean the house up, the usually bookish big brother goes on the adventure of his life. Now Henry is driving cars, avoiding cats, escaping rats, and all before the upcoming mouse Masquerade. Like an extended version of Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Two Bad Mice (1904), Priebe keeps this short chapter book constantly moving, with Duncan’s peppy art a cute capper. Oddly, the dollhouse itself plays only the smallest of roles in this story, and no factual information on the real Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House is included at the tale’s end (an opportunity lost).

Innocuous adventuring on the smallest of scales. (Fantasy. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-6575-5

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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THREE YOUNG PILGRIMS

Mary, Remember, and Bartholomew Allerton were among the youngest on the Mayflower's first voyage; the words here tell how, with the other newcomers, they suffer tremendous losses but gradually come to view Plymouth as home. Meanwhile, the author's paintings expand considerably on the text with a fanciful map of the journey, a cutaway view of the ship, and crowd scenes of planting, harvest, and thanksgiving. The children, introduced in the first paragraph, don't appear in the illustrations, and are not the focus of any picture, until well into the book. The ongoing disparity between text and art is unsettling; moreover, the text is often clumsy: After the death of Mary—last of the original group—the narrative leaps back to a confusing, incomplete explanation of the Pilgrims' origins. The panoramic watercolors are attractive, with expertly composed, cinematic scenes, but the text, pursuing its separate agenda, regrettably never catches up. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 1992

ISBN: 0-02-742643-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1992

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