Vivid, absorbing, and inspiring.

REVOLUTIONARY PRUDENCE WRIGHT

LEADING THE MINUTE WOMEN IN THE FIGHT FOR INDEPENDENCE

From the time she was a young girl, Prudence Wright “had a spark of independence.”

The story begins with a brief recounting of various ways young Prudence defied traditional gender roles while growing up in Pepperell, Massachusetts Colony, including outperforming boys at school, hunting, fishing, and debating her brothers on political issues. As she grows older, Prudence fumes at King George III’s increasingly punitive laws, which include onerous taxes on British goods. In 1773, when the men of Pepperell vote to join the Colony’s resistance to British rule and begin training in militias, Prudence and the women in her quilting circle stage their own rebellion by dumping British tea into a bonfire on the town common and boycotting other British goods. As King George clamps down on protests, the colonists declare war. While most of Pepperell’s men are away fighting in skirmishes, Prudence discovers that Tory spies are planning to infiltrate the town and organizes the townswomen to defend it. She leads the lasses—armed and dressed in men’s clothing—in a dramatic ambush on Pepperell’s bridge, making revolutionary history as head of “the first-ever unit of minute women.” Reagan’s accomplished illustrations, executed in watercolor with digital drawing, add historical veracity to Anderson’s superbly documented, at times hair-raising narrative. The author explicitly situates Wright and her female comrades as pioneers who “proved themselves as full citizens” in an era before female enfranchisement. Most characters are White, but a few of the colonists present as people of color.

Vivid, absorbing, and inspiring. (afterword, author’s note, illustrator’s note, bibliography) (Historical fiction/picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-64472-057-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Calkins Creek/Astra Books for Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2021

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26 FAIRMOUNT AVENUE

            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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There's a need for a good book for kids about Ansel Adams—and this one misses the mark.

ANTSY ANSEL

ANSEL ADAMS, A LIFE IN NATURE

This distillation of the photographer’s life and achievements focuses on his “antsy” youth and early influences.

A distracted, sickly student, Ansel reveled in nature along the beaches near his San Francisco home. He blossomed after his prescient father withdrew him from formal schooling, enabling home tutoring and such experiences as a season ticket to San Francisco’s 1915 world’s fair. Effectively employing onomatopoeia, Jenson-Elliott reveals 14-year-old Ansel’s pivotal experience at Yosemite. On a family trip, “Ansel got his first glimpse of Yosemite Valley—the ripple-rush-ROAR! of water and light! Light! Light! It was love at first sight.” In Yosemite, his parents gave him his first camera, and “he was off— Run-leap-scramble—SNAP!…Ansel’s photos became a / journal of everything he saw.” The final five double-page spreads compress 60-plus years: photography expeditions in Yosemite, marriage to Virginia Best, Adams’ government-commissioned work documenting the national parks, and the enduring importance of his photographic record of the American wild lands. Hale’s collages blend traditional and digital layering and include cropped photographic images such as Adams’ childhood home and wood-paneled station wagon. Her stylized depiction of Yosemite’s Half Dome and decision to render several iconic photographs as painterly thumbnails display a jarring disregard for Adams’ lifelong absorption with technical and visual precision.

There's a need for a good book for kids about Ansel Adams—and this one misses the mark. (biographical note, photographs with note, bibliography of adult resources, websites) (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62779-082-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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