Thomas polishes up nine anecdotes and pourquoi tales collected by Hurston, but only recently rediscovered (along with hundreds more) and published in a collection for adults.  Originally transcribed in dialect, their regional flavor has been toned down, but not completely erased:  when Porpoise outraces the Sun, for instance, God says, “Aw, no, this ain’t gonna do!” and fixes Porpoise’s tail “on crossways.”  Sandwiched between not-quite-identical versions of “Why the Buzzard Has No Home,” these short tales of rivalry (“Why the Dog Hates the Cat”), friendship (“Why the Frog Got Eyes and Mole Got Tail”), and troubles explained (“Why Flies Get the First Taste”) will appeal to readers and tellers alike for their simplicity, humor, and action.  To all of this, Collier adds an unexpected, but not overdone, layer of visual complexity with painted collages in which easily recognizable animals and background features, abstract forms, and swirls of color coexist.  Younger audiences might not know Hurston as a folklorist; here’s help for that, in an inviting mix of tales and familiar ones made fresh.                      (Folk tales.  7-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-06-000643-9

Page Count: 42

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2004

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A lively introduction to the work of a Hebrew language scholar and lover—and his family.



The ancient Hebrew language enters the modern world.

In 1885 Jerusalem, a young boy named Ben-Zion cannot converse with the polyglot children of his age because his father has decreed that he speak only Hebrew, “the first child in more than two thousand years” to do so. The father, Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, is a Zionist immigrant to Palestine and fervently believes that Jews from every country, speaking so many different languages, should return to the language of their ancestors and of Jewish Scripture. Ben-Zion is not popular in the neighborhood; some consider Hebrew a holy tongue to be used only in prayer. The father persists and finds that he needs to invent words to modernize the ancient language. Thus, by combining the Hebrew words for “wheel” and for “a pair of” he creates a word for bicycle. Ben-Yehuda’s work leads to a network of schools, a dictionary, and the eventual designation of Hebrew in 1948 as the national language of Israel. Michelson’s account, based on history, is presented as a story with invented dialogue, which he addresses in his author’s note. Gudeon’s digitized watercolor illustrations, full of children, are lively and feature Hebrew words and letters as part of the page design.

A lively introduction to the work of a Hebrew language scholar and lover—and his family. (afterword, further reading) (Picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 21, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-58089-636-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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Read this and be inspired to work for justice through the legal system.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

  • Sydney Taylor Book Award Winner



Speak purposefully and carry a big legal pad.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s 1940s Brooklyn neighborhood was filled with the traditional sights and aromas of many different immigrant cultures alongside her Jewish background, but in one respect her life was different. Her mother believed women should pursue opportunities outside the traditional ones. Ruth read voraciously in her neighborhood library, but it was on car trips with her family that she was exposed to racial and religious prejudices, effectively communicated with signage in the illustrations. Rebelling against writing with her right hand, the left-handed Ruth went on to earn a law degree—rare for women at that time—and teach law. She made it her mission to fight in the courts for equal rights for women and people of color. In 1993, President Bill Clinton appointed her to the Supreme Court, the first Jewish woman to sit. In her many opinions, she “sings out for equality.” Levy’s breezy text highlights Ginsburg’s childhood, schooling, family (with a husband as the cook), and career. Baddeley’s mixed-media art is colorful, lively, and retro in feel. The judicious use of large and varied display types throughout the pages emphasizes Ginsburg’s thoughts and actions, often evoking picket signs of protest.

Read this and be inspired to work for justice through the legal system. (author’s note, photographs, notes on Supreme Court cases, bibliography, quotation sources) (Picture book/biography. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 20, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-6559-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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