Readers will root for Lizzie all the way.

QUEEN OF THE DIAMOND

THE LIZZIE MURPHY STORY

A very determined girl in turn-of-the-20th-century Rhode Island decides that she will play baseball.

Lizzie’s brother, Henry, plays on local amateur teams, and Lizzie wants to play as well. When she plays catch with Henry, she throws strong and true. Her father and brother both support her, although her mother wishes a more normal, expected future for the girl. When she is 8, she wangles a place on the team as a batboy. At a game against a rival town, she is the only one who remembers to bring a ball and talks her way into playing first base. Through insults and jeers, she plays well on the field and at bat, earning everyone’s respect. At 12, Lizzie begins work in the mill alongside her family; she plays and excels at other sports, but baseball is her special love. Later she continues to defy expectations regarding a woman’s place, joining semipro teams, playing for many years and always demanding her fair pay. McCully does not make comparisons to modern-day professional baseball, carefully keeping the tale true to the time period, but she obviously admires the daring young woman who paved her own path. The syntax is modern but with a hint of old-fashioned cadence. Bright, light-filled, expressive illustrations complement the action beautifully.

Readers will root for Lizzie all the way. (author’s note, sources) (Picture book/biography. 6-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 17, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-374-30007-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2015

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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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Make space for this clever blend of science and self-realization.

A PLACE FOR PLUTO

If Pluto can’t be a planet—then what is he?

Having been a regular planet for “the better part of forever,” Pluto is understandably knocked out of orbit by his sudden exclusion. With Charon and his four other moons in tow he sets off in search of a new identity. Unfortunately, that only spins him into further gloom, as he doesn’t have a tail like his friend Halley’s comet, is too big to join Ida and the other asteroids, and feels disinclined to try to crash into Earth like meteoroids Gem and Persi. Then, just as he’s about to plunge into a black hole of despair, an encounter with a whole quartet of kindred spheroids led by Eris rocks his world…and a follow-up surprise party thrown by an apologetic Saturn (“Dwarf planet has a nice RING to it”) and the other seven former colleagues literally puts him “over the moon.” Demmer gives all the heavenly bodies big eyes (some, including the feminine Saturn, with long lashes) and, on occasion, short arms along with distinctive identifying colors or markings. Dressing the troublemaking meteoroids in do-rags and sunglasses sounds an off note. Without mentioning that the reclassification is still controversial, Wade closes with a (somewhat) straighter account of Pluto’s current official status and the reasons for it.

Make space for this clever blend of science and self-realization. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68446-004-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Capstone Young Readers

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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