The book quotes Lincoln as saying, “Whatever you are, be a good one.” This team goes beyond good; they excel at making...



From Ben Franklin: His Wit and Wisdom from A-Z (2011), the dynamic duo of Schroeder and O’Brien here turn their talents to Abe Lincoln.

The alphabetic approach allows them to zero in on fascinating tidbits about both Lincoln himself and historical information pertinent to his past. Each letter is given from two to five entries. For A, Amendment, Autobiography, Ax and Aloud (as in reading) are cited. Many choices are obvious, but others may surprise readers. J is for Jack, a soldier doll that his sons played with. O is for Our American Cousin, the play Lincoln was watching when he was shot. Q is for Quincy (where he debated Douglas), Quorum and Quick (the Gettysburg Address). X is for Xenia, Ohio, where he made one of his railroad stops; the people swarmed the train and ate his lunch. Z is probably the most unusual one, standing for Zouaves, units of volunteer soldiers known for their colorful uniforms. O’Brien’s signature style lends the tableaux enormous flair, humor and zing. Comical tiny details are mischievous and clever. On the A page: A boy wearing a fringed shirt is holding an ax next to a gargantuan tube of Lincoln Logs filled with chopped-down trees.

The book quotes Lincoln as saying, “Whatever you are, be a good one.” This team goes beyond good; they excel at making history real, enjoyable and memorable. (Informational picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8234-2420-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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            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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Utterly compelling.


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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