A searching picture of a pioneering social crusader.

THE TRAVELING CAMERA

LEWIS HINE AND THE FIGHT TO END CHILD LABOR

A tribute to the self-taught photographer who sparked real reform by turning faceless masses of abused workers into children with names and histories.

Incorporating Hine’s voice and some of his actual words (signaled with italics) into her free-verse monologue, Hinrichs highlights both his purposes—“I want to show their hard work / their hard lives” and also “their spirit. Because / the human spirit / is the big thing / after all”—and his methods of getting past suspicious factory overseers and of connecting with child workers in settings from cranberry bogs and canneries to coal mines. Garland’s harmoniously toned painted images of a slender, deceptively inoffensive-looking White figure using an awkward box camera to take pictures of solemn children, most but not all White, with downcast eyes and patchy period clothes meld gradually toward the end into Hine’s actual work (he called them “Hineographs”). More than 30 in all, they appear in a gallery that goes to the rear endpapers and are accompanied by a prose recap that downplays but at least mentions his quaint views on gender roles plus the fact that he took relatively few pictures of Black children and almost none of Asians. Russell Freedman’s Kids At Work (1994) explores his life and legacy in greater detail, but there’s enough here to leave even younger readers moved by his mission and his timeless portraits.

A searching picture of a pioneering social crusader. (chronology, source list, endnotes) (Picture book/biography. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-947440-06-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Getty Publications

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

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At its best when the emphasis is on the skill and artistry of Mime’s most accomplished practitioner—alas, too much of the...

MARCEL MARCEAU

MASTER OF MIME

The legendary mime is introduced to a new generation, though not entirely successfully.

As a child, Marceau loved to silently entertain his friends, like his idol, Charlie Chaplin. During the Nazi occupation of France, Marcel and his brother took on new identities in the French Underground, where they forged documents for Jewish children and helped many to escape to Switzerland. Spielman assumes that her young audience will understand references to deportation and concentration camps; unfortunately for those that don't, her matter-of-fact tone speaks more of adventure than deadly peril. Her tone subtly changes when she lovingly describes Marceau’s training and development as a mime and his stage persona of Bip the clown, admiring his skills in the “art of silence” that won him international renown. But here too, comparisons to the Little Tramp and Pierrot may be outside readers’ frame of reference. Though the illustrations carefully complement the textual content with period details, Gauthier’s cartoon faces are all nearly identical, with only the screen image of Chaplin and Marceau’s Bip having distinctive features. A double-page spread at the conclusion provides photographs of Bip in action and is the only clear indication of Marceau’s stagecraft.

At its best when the emphasis is on the skill and artistry of Mime’s most accomplished practitioner—alas, too much of the book looks elsewhere. (Picture book/biography. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-7613-3961-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kar-Ben

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2011

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WALT DISNEY

DRAWN FROM IMAGINATION

A squeaky-clean biography of the original Mouseketeer.

Scollon begins with the (to say the least) arguable claim that Disney grew up to “define and shape what would come to be known as the American Century.” Following this, he retraces Disney’s life and career, characterizing him as a visionary whose only real setbacks came from excess ambition or at the hands of unscrupulous film distributors. Disney’s brother Roy appears repeatedly to switch between roles as encourager and lead doubter, but except in chapters covering his childhood, the rest of his family only puts in occasional cameos. Unsurprisingly, there is no mention of Disney’s post–World War II redbaiting, and his most controversial film, Song of the South, gets only a single reference (and that with a positive slant). More puzzling is the absence of Mary Poppins from the tally of Disney triumphs. Still, readers will come away with a good general picture of the filmmaking and animation techniques that Disney pioneered, as well as a highlight history of his studio, television work and amusement parks. Discussion questions are appended: “What do you think were Walt Disney’s greatest accomplishments and why?” Brown’s illustrations not seen. An iconic success story that has often been told before but rarely so one-dimensionally or with such firm adherence to the company line. (bibliography) (Biography. 8-10)

 

Pub Date: July 15, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9647-1

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Disney Press

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2014

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