Good grief! (Picture book. 4-8)


From the Peanuts Great American Adventure series

The Peanuts gang explains the origins of the American Revolution—kinda.

This is such an egregious appropriation of a global institution that it is hard to know where to begin. How about the cover? “I Declare, Charlie Brown! Charles M. Schulz.” That’s it. As Schulz died in 2000, readers can safely assume this is not his story and these are not his drawings, and the record is corrected on the title page. Briefly, the Peanuts gang builds a treehouse, which Lucy quickly occupies and demands a tax to enter. Forget that this is not a tax but an admission fee—this allows Reeves and Barnes to introduce taxation without representation and the impetus for the American Revolution (which gets stone-skipping detail in the backmatter). The text is painfully wooden: “They settled some of the very first colonies in America. By the mid-1770s, thirteen colonies were thriving.” Unlike George III (and, for that matter, Schulz’s Lucy), Reeves and Barnes’ Lucy sees the light and joins the gang for a tea party. Brannon’s digital artwork has a wobbly, mouse-drawn look, giving the characters a sickly look. To add insult to injury, the text doesn’t always match the illustrations. “ ‘Lucy is coming! Lucy is coming!’ Pigpen sounded the alarm.” As it happens, Pigpen is nowhere to be found.

Good grief! (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 21, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62157-334-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Patriot Press

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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Here’s hoping there will be a bunch of Baloney in the future.


From the Baloney & Friends series , Vol. 1

A new chapter-book series promises tons of fun for everyone.

Baloney the pig couldn’t be happier about starring in his very own book—until pals Peanut D. Horse, Bizz E. Bee, and Krabbit (a crabby rabbit) crash the introduction, leaving him frustrated. Baloney perseveres and goes on to star in several, short comic book–style stories that often break the fourth wall and that always rely on the very different personalities of the characters to deliver humor. Peanut is a Pollyanna and just a bit daffy. Bizz is a sensible, thoughtful bee-ing. Krabbit is so crabby he’d give Oscar the Grouch a run for his money. Baloney? Well, Baloney is a sensitive sort who, in two longer episodes, wants to entertain his friends with a magic show and join in their fun at swimming. Shorter “mini-comics” between these sections provide good breaks for new readers who are, perhaps, just starting to make their ways through a longer text like this. Pizolli saves the strongest story for last, delivering a sweet and satisfying portrait of Peanut’s kindness to her friend Baloney when he feels blue. And readers needn’t feel blue themselves that the story is over since they can follow handy backmatter instructions to draw their own versions of the simple, line-drawn characters.

Here’s hoping there will be a bunch of Baloney in the future. (Graphic fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-368-05454-6

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion/LBYR

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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A life devoted to freedom and dignity, worthy of praise and remembrance.


With the words of Massachusetts colonial rebels ringing in her ears, a slave determines to win her freedom.

In 1780, Mumbet heard the words of the new Massachusetts constitution, including its declaration of freedom and equality. With the help of a young lawyer, she went to court and the following year, won her freedom, becoming Elizabeth Freeman. Slavery was declared illegal and subsequently outlawed in the state. Woelfle writes with fervor as she describes Mumbet’s life in the household of John Ashley, a rich landowner and businessman who hosted protest meetings against British taxation. His wife was abrasive and abusive, striking out with a coal shovel at a young girl, possibly Mumbet’s daughter. Mumbet deflected the blow and regarded the wound as “her badge of bravery.” Ironically, the lawyer who took her case, Theodore Sedgwick, had attended John Ashley’s meetings. Delinois’ full-bleed paintings are heroic in scale, richly textured and vibrant. Typography becomes part of the page design as the font increases when the text mentions freedom. Another slave in the Ashley household was named in the court case, but Woelfle, keeping her young audience in mind, keeps it simple, wisely focusing on Mumbet.

A life devoted to freedom and dignity, worthy of praise and remembrance. (author’s note, selected bibliography, further reading) (Picture book/biography. 5-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7613-6589-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Carolrhoda

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2013

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