A taste of wilderness of yore to whet the appetites of future fans of Laura Ingalls Wilder, Louise Erdrich and Kirkpatrick...

MY WILDERNESS

AN ALASKAN ADVENTURE

“When I was nine years old, I lived one winter on Fox Island, with my father, an old trapper named Olson, six blue fox, a family of angora goats, and Squirlie. This is what happened.”

So begins an imaginary memoir, based on the records of Rockwell Kent III and his artist father. Artwork reminiscent of Mary Azarian’s graces pages that begin with the son noting that his father wanted to go to Alaska to paint. “We pleaded with Mother until she said yes. Squirlie came too.” In September 1918, father, son and toy squirrel travel by train, steamship and rowboat to get to the remote island, where they renovate an old shed. Now the outdoor adventures begin. Three well-calculated pairs of suspenseful rectos followed by a harmless, concluding page turn keep readers riveted while meting out facts. As the boy heads down a trail, he hears noises that he knows could be a grizzly bear. The page turn reveals a beautiful black-inked portrait of a porcupine. The woodcuts capture the joys of playing in the snow, the warmth of stories by lamplight, occasional loneliness and the hazards of a storm at sea. Readers may be forgiven for thinking that Rocky is a girl before they reach the author’s note, as he looks androgynous in the illustrations.

A taste of wilderness of yore to whet the appetites of future fans of Laura Ingalls Wilder, Louise Erdrich and Kirkpatrick Hill. (author’s note) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 3, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-57061-950-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little Bigfoot/Sasquatch

Review Posted Online: Jan. 10, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

This well-told and exquisitely illustrated story of a musician with a steep career trajectory will inspire young readers to...

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Coretta Scott King Book Award Winner

  • Caldecott Honor Book

TROMBONE SHORTY

An autobiographical tale of a young man who started making “musical gumbo” at age 4.

Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews relates how he grew up in Tremé in New Orleans, American’s oldest black neighborhood, where he heard music everywhere. Young Troy admires his big brother’s trumpet playing and makes music without instruments with his friends. After finding a discarded trombone, the little boy teaches himself to play. Troy narrates: “I was so small that sometimes I fell right over…because it was so heavy.” (Despite Collier’s illustrations of young “Shorty,” nothing prepares readers for his size in the parade photograph in the backmatter.) When Bo Diddley hears him playing in the crowd at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, the jazz great invites him to the stage. An author’s note explains that Troy started a band at age 6 and joined Lenny Kravitz’s band at 19. Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, his band, tours the world, and Troy shares New Orleans music and culture through his foundation and music academy. Employing his unmistakable mixed-media collage images, Collier portrays the story of this living legend with energy and style, making visible the swirling sounds of jazz.

This well-told and exquisitely illustrated story of a musician with a steep career trajectory will inspire young readers to pursue their passions, despite the challenges. (illustrator’s note) (Picture book/biography. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4197-1465-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Stirring encouragement for all “little people” with “big dreams.” (Picture book/biography. 5-7)

MAYA ANGELOU

From the Little People, BIG DREAMS series

“There’s nothing I can’t be,” young Maya thinks, and then shows, in this profile for newly independent readers, imported from Spain.

The inspirational message is conveyed through a fine skein of biographical details. It begins with her birth in St. Louis and the prejudice she experienced growing up in a small Arkansas town and closes with her reading of a poem “about her favorite thing: hope” at Bill Clinton’s presidential inauguration. In between, it mentions the (unspecified) “attack” by her mother’s boyfriend and subsequent elective muteness she experienced as a child, as well as some of the varied pursuits that preceded her eventual decision to become a writer. Kaiser goes on in a closing spread to recap Angelou’s life and career, with dates, beneath a quartet of portrait photos. Salaberria’s simple illustrations, filled with brown-skinned figures, are more idealized than photorealistic, but, though only in the cover image do they make direct contact with readers’, Angelou’s huge eyes are an effective focal point in each scene. The message is similar in the co-published Amelia Earhart, written by Ma Isabel Sánchez Vegara (and also translated by Pitt), but the pictures are more fanciful as illustrator Mariadiamantes endows the aviator with a mane of incandescent orange hair and sends her flying westward (in contradiction of the text and history) on her final around-the-world flight.

Stirring encouragement for all “little people” with “big dreams.” (Picture book/biography. 5-7)

Pub Date: July 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-84780-889-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more