A genial salute to and from the original corps of children’s-literature ambassadors.

READ REVIEW

FLIGHTS OF FANCY

CREATIVE INSPIRATION FROM TEN AWARD-WINNING AUTHORS AND ILLUSTRATORS

To celebrate 20 years of the U.K.’s Children’s Laureate program, the first 10 to be appointed to the position offer remarks on their craft.

The roster of contributors is heavy with honored names, bookended by Quentin Blake, the first laureate (1999-2001), who writes about stylistic relations between pictures and story, and Lauren Child (2017-2019), describing how her stories develop in a dynamic mix of writing and drawing. In between, Michael Rosen grows a poem from one funny-sounding word, “Bobble”; Michael Morpurgo ruminates on finding just the right voice; Jacqueline Wilson presents a short story in diary form; and Chris Riddell visually lays out a five-point strategy for making drawing a constant daily activity. Malorie Blackman, the only person of color in the lineup, follows a set of brainstorming questions with a fable written from three points of view. Some contributions, such as Morpurgo’s tale of a heroic librarian, “I Believe in Unicorns,” Anne Fine’s selection of original bookplates by various eminent illustrators, and Anthony Browne’s Shape Game, have appeared elsewhere in print or online, but the personal statements are new and the contents assembled in an appealingly informal way that invites younger audiences to the party as well as readers who have grown up with these authors and illustrators. Riddell’s caricatures at the end are alone worth the price of admission.

A genial salute to and from the original corps of children’s-literature ambassadors. (Anthology. 10-13)

Pub Date: April 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0536-7

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Walker US/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

The car gets shortchanged, but comparing the divergent career paths of its (putative) two riders may give readers food for...

TWO MEN AND A CAR

FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT, AL CAPONE, AND A CADILLAC V-8

A custom-built, bulletproof limo links two historical figures who were pre-eminent in more or less different spheres.

Garland admits that a claim that FDR was driven to Congress to deliver his “Day of Infamy” speech in a car that once belonged to Capone rests on shaky evidence. He nonetheless uses the anecdote as a launchpad for twin portraits of contemporaries who occupy unique niches in this country’s history but had little in common. Both were smart, ambitious New Yorkers and were young when their fathers died, but they definitely “headed in opposite directions.” As he fills his biographical sketches with standard-issue facts and has disappointingly little to say about the car itself (which was commissioned by Capone in 1928 and still survives), this outing seems largely intended to be a vehicle for the dark, heavy illustrations. These are done in muted hues with densely scratched surfaces and angled so that the two men, the period backgrounds against which they are posed, and the car have monumental looks. It’s a reach to bill this, as the author does, a “story about America,” but it does at least offer a study in contrasts featuring two of America’s most renowned citizens. Most of the human figures are white in the art, but some group scenes include a few with darker skin.

The car gets shortchanged, but comparing the divergent career paths of its (putative) two riders may give readers food for thought. (timeline, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 10-12)

Pub Date: March 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-88448-620-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Tilbury House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An only-serviceable collective biography for those interested in the history of the movement. (Collective biography. 10-13)

FRIENDS OF THE EARTH

A HISTORY OF AMERICAN ENVIRONMENTALISM

Brief biographies of early conservationists and environmentalists provide a look at the development of the movement.

Readers meet John James Audubon, Henry David Thoreau, John Muir, Roger Tory Peterson and Rachel Carson, as well as less familiar names: Cordelia Stanwood, Gifford Pinchot, Aldo Leopold, Marjory Stoneman Douglas and Margaret “Mardy” Murie. Each featurette is about six to eight pages long, offering enough detail to provide a flavor of the people’s lives and explain their significance to the movement. Each chapter includes one or more activities (mostly simple science experiments) themed to match the biography—not always successfully. The activity for the Muir chapter is to bake oatmeal scones, which seems strange when compared to others: bird identification, making a plaster cast of an animal footprint or a bird feeder, etc. The last section describes future challenges. The text is mostly written in short sentences that don’t jibe with the more complex content and may sometimes perplex readers: “For years, we’ve heard the cry, ‘Save the rainforest!’ This is another side of deforestation.” This effort offers an odd mix of complexity and oversimplification: “The rate of global warming can be slowed if people will take a few simple steps”—carpooling, using public transit, eschewing motorized transportation and limiting trips. More useful for the biographies than the environmental information.

An only-serviceable collective biography for those interested in the history of the movement. (Collective biography. 10-13)

Pub Date: March 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-56976-718-4

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Chicago Review Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more