Sarah Goode: a name well worth knowing and celebrating.

SWEET DREAMS, SARAH

FROM SLAVERY TO INVENTOR

Readers meet a forward-thinking woman whose name ought to be widely known but isn’t.

Sarah E. Goode was born a slave, the daughter of a skilled free carpenter who “could build anything.” Sarah acquired her father’s woodcraft skills, and, after emancipation, she moved to Chicago, met and married African-American stair builder Archibald Goode, started a family, and realized her dream of owning her own furniture store. Working alongside Archibald, she fashioned a piece of furniture that would make efficient use of space for her customers whose big families were crammed into small living quarters. A desk by day, Sarah’s cabinet bed unfolded into a bed at night. Her first attempt to secure a patent failed because others had already patented components of her design, but with some legal help and revisions to her application, she received the patent for her cabinet bed in 1885, becoming the first African-American woman to be granted a patent. The succinctness with which Kirkfield tells this story emphasizes Goode’s drive to succeed despite obstacles. The illustrations, which have a smooth, digital patina, show her strength and resolve to build something that was both aesthetically pleasing and functional. The presence of her children also suggests that she passed her skills on to them. An author’s note provides further historical context and explains a patent.

Sarah Goode: a name well worth knowing and celebrating.   (timeline) (Picture book/biography. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-939547-31-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Creston

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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Bruce Goldstone’s Awesome Autumn (2012) is still the gold standard.

HELLO AUTUMN!

Rotner follows Hello Spring (2017) with this salute to the fall season.

Name a change seen in northern climes in fall, and Rotner likely covers it here, from plants, trees, and animals to the food we harvest: seeds are spread, the days grow shorter and cooler, the leaves change and fall (and are raked up and jumped in), some animals migrate, and many families celebrate Halloween and Thanksgiving. As in the previous book, the photographs (presented in a variety of sizes and layouts, all clean) are the stars here, displaying both the myriad changes of the season and a multicultural array of children enjoying the outdoors in fall. These are set against white backgrounds that make the reddish-orange print pop. The text itself uses short sentences and some solid vocabulary (though “deep sleep” is used instead of “hibernate”) to teach readers the markers of autumn, though in the quest for simplicity, Rotner sacrifices some truth. In several cases, the addition of just a few words would have made the following oversimplified statements reflect reality: “Birds grow more feathers”; “Cranberries float and turn red.” Also, Rotner includes the statement “Bees store extra honey in their hives” on a page about animals going into deep sleep, implying that honeybees hibernate, which is false.

Bruce Goldstone’s Awesome Autumn (2012) is still the gold standard. (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3869-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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A simple but effective look at a keystone species.

IF YOU TAKE AWAY THE OTTER

Sea otters are the key to healthy kelp forests on the Pacific coast of North America.

There have been several recent titles for older readers about the critical role sea otters play in the coastal Pacific ecosystem. This grand, green version presents it to even younger readers and listeners, using a two-level text and vivid illustrations. Biologist Buhrman-Deever opens as if she were telling a fairy tale: “On the Pacific coast of North America, where the ocean meets the shore, there are forests that have no trees.” The treelike forms are kelp, home to numerous creatures. Two spreads show this lush underwater jungle before its king, the sea otter, is introduced. A delicate balance allows this system to flourish, but there was a time that hunting upset this balance. The writer is careful to blame not the Indigenous peoples who had always hunted the area, but “new people.” In smaller print she explains that Russian explorations spurred the development of an international fur trade. Trueman paints the scene, concentrating on an otter family threatened by formidable harpoons from an abstractly rendered person in a small boat, with a sailing ship in the distance. “People do not always understand at first the changes they cause when they take too much.” Sea urchins take over; a page turn reveals a barren landscape. Happily, the story ends well when hunting stops and the otters return…and with them, the kelp forests.

A simple but effective look at a keystone species. (further information, select bibliography, additional resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 26, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7636-8934-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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