As stimulating as sea air itself, this story will surely send the salt water coursing through the veins of its readers.

READ REVIEW

DARE THE WIND

THE RECORD-BREAKING VOYAGE OF ELEANOR PRENTISS AND THE FLYING CLOUD

A lively, true story about a 19th-century woman and the 15,000-mile sailing journey she navigated.

With animated language full of the vigor of the sea itself, Fern relates the story of Ellen Prentiss Creesy, who, while growing up in Marblehead, Mass., was taught to both sail and navigate by her sea-captain father. Later, Ellen accompanied her husband, also a sea captain, on many voyages as navigator. Ellen’s husband was given command of the Flying Cloud, a clipper ship whose 1851 maiden voyage—from New York City around the tip of Cape Horn to San Francisco—aspired to bring passengers and cargo to the Gold Rush more quickly than had ever been done before. With Ellen as navigator, the Flying Cloud endured storms and doldrums to triumph in its record-setting voyage. McCully’s expertly rendered watercolor illustrations evoke, in double-page spreads, the rich atmosphere of the sea in all its moods, while many events are shown as round vignettes—as though seen through a spyglass. Off-kilter horizon lines conjure up the motion of the ship at sea, and sailing-savvy readers will appreciate the accurate depiction of all things nautical. Endpapers showing the Flying Cloud’s sailing route orient readers to the huge scope of the voyage.

As stimulating as sea air itself, this story will surely send the salt water coursing through the veins of its readers. (author’s note, glossary) (Picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-374-31699-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Dec. 1, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2013

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Utterly compelling.

WHEN I WAS EIGHT

The authors of Fatty Legs (2010) distill that moving memoir of an Inuit child’s residential school experience into an even more powerful picture book.

“Brave, clever, and as unyielding” as the sharpening stone for which she’s named, Olemaun convinces her father to send her from their far-north village to the “outsiders’ school.” There, the 8-year-old receives particularly vicious treatment from one of the nuns, who cuts her hair, assigns her endless chores, locks her in a dark basement and gives her ugly red socks that make her the object of other children’s taunts. In her first-person narration, she compares the nun to the Queen in Alice in Wonderland, a story she has heard from her sister and longs to read for herself, subtly reminding readers of the power of literature to help face real life. Grimard portrays this black-cloaked nun with a scowl and a hooked nose, the image of a witch. Her paintings stretch across the gutter and sometimes fill the spreads. Varying perspectives and angles, she brings readers into this unfamiliar world. Opening with a spread showing the child’s home in a vast, frozen landscape, she proceeds to hone in on the painful school details. A final spread shows the triumphant child and her book: “[N]ow I could read.”

Utterly compelling. (Picture book/memoir. 5-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-55451-490-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Annick Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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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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