ABE LINCOLN REMEMBERS

This handsome and genuinely appealing collaboration transcends the usual picture-book biography genre. The author and artist impressively succeed in taking the well-known details of this oh-so-familiar life and shaping them into an accessible, affecting personal story. Experienced historical novelist Turner (Dakota Dugout, 1985) chose to tell this remembrance in the imagined voice of Lincoln, setting it on the evening of April 14, 1865, just before he and wife Mary are about to leave for the theatre. Historians have made much of Lincoln’s moodiness and melancholy at this moment in time; Turner reflects that conventional wisdom yet she does not make this a maudlin or sappily sentimental tale. Lincoln’s voice is simple and steadying. In spare, restrained prose, he recounts his life story in a voice that resonates with an undertone of grief and loss. The effect is simple, fresh, and inspiring. Minor (who previously collaborated with Turner on the haunting 1997 Shaker Hearts) is a prolific illustrator who has risen to the challenge of refreshing and refashioning time- and shop-worn events and images. His handsome and characteristically detailed acrylic paintings are perfectly pitched to Turner’s tone, which is increasingly somber. Minor also doubled as the book’s designer and makes effective use of white space, employs clean-edged line borders in red and white, and even includes occasional ghost images of Lincoln’s distinctive signature. In the book’s well-developed and inclusive “historical note,” Turner reflects on Lincoln’s pivotal role in the nation’s history. Finally, she asserts that Lincoln’s “words echo down the years to us, calling to us, reminding us of what it means to lead an ethical and courageous life.” Memorable. (Picture book/biography. 6-10)

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2001

ISBN: 0-06-027577-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2001

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An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda.

BOOKMARKS ARE PEOPLE TOO!

From the Here's Hank series , Vol. 1

Hank Zipzer, poster boy for dyslexic middle graders everywhere, stars in a new prequel series highlighting second-grade trials and triumphs.

Hank’s hopes of playing Aqua Fly, a comic-book character, in the upcoming class play founder when, despite plenty of coaching and preparation, he freezes up during tryouts. He is not particularly comforted when his sympathetic teacher adds a nonspeaking role as a bookmark to the play just for him. Following the pattern laid down in his previous appearances as an older child, he gets plenty of help and support from understanding friends (including Ashley Wong, a new apartment-house neighbor). He even manages to turn lemons into lemonade with a quick bit of improv when Nick “the Tick” McKelty, the sneering classmate who took his preferred role, blanks on his lines during the performance. As the aforementioned bully not only chokes in the clutch and gets a demeaning nickname, but is fat, boastful and eats like a pig, the authors’ sensitivity is rather one-sided. Still, Hank has a winning way of bouncing back from adversity, and like the frequent black-and-white line-and-wash drawings, the typeface is designed with easy legibility in mind.

An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-448-48239-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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Fans both young and formerly young will be pleased—100 percent.

HORTON AND THE KWUGGERBUG AND MORE LOST STORIES

Published in magazines, never seen since / Now resurrected for pleasure intense / Versified episodes numbering four / Featuring Marco, and Horton and more!

All of the entries in this follow-up to The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories (2011) involve a certain amount of sharp dealing. Horton carries a Kwuggerbug through crocodile-infested waters and up a steep mountain because “a deal is a deal”—and then is cheated out of his promised share of delicious Beezlenuts. Officer Pat heads off escalating, imagined disasters on Mulberry Street by clubbing a pesky gnat. Marco (originally met on that same Mulberry Street) concocts a baroque excuse for being late to school. In the closer, a smooth-talking Grinch (not the green sort) sells a gullible Hoobub a piece of string. In a lively introduction, uber-fan Charles D. Cohen (The Seuss, The Whole Seuss, and Nothing but the Seuss, 2002) provides publishing histories, places characters and settings in Seussian context, and offers insights into, for instance, the origin of “Grinch.” Along with predictably engaging wordplay—“He climbed. He grew dizzy. His ankles grew numb. / But he climbed and he climbed and he clum and he clum”—each tale features bright, crisply reproduced renditions of its original illustrations. Except for “The Hoobub and the Grinch,” which has been jammed into a single spread, the verses and pictures are laid out in spacious, visually appealing ways.

Fans both young and formerly young will be pleased—100 percent. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 9, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-38298-4

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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