A great introduction to an architect, a feminist, and a leader who showed the world the impossible. (Picture book/biography....

ZAHA HADID

From the Little People, BIG DREAMS series

An introduction for young readers focuses on the architect’s journey and how she became the “Queen of Curve.”

Readers are introduced to “little Zaha,” a “Muslim girl who lived with her family in Baghdad,” and learn that at 7 she was designing clothes. Sánchez Vegara leads readers through Zaha’s childhood and adulthood, covering her schooling, favorite subjects, and how she became the woman who experimented and dared to change architecture. Amar’s illustrations are simple, bright, and colorful, portraying Zaha in a space mostly occupied by men. Little details such as the letters “ZH” on construction helmets worn by men listening to Zaha’s project plan emphasize her role as a leader. When Sánchez Vegara points out that Zaha “changed the way that people thought about women—especially an Arab woman—in an industry run by men,” Amar dedicates a spread that draws attention to Zaha’s status with a wall of portraits of notable architects in which she is the only woman. Like other titles in the series, this one ends with more facts on Zaha and her family along with four black-and-white photos taken at different points in her life and suggested titles for further reading. Series companion Mary Shelley, also by Sánchez Vegara but illustrated by Yelena Bryksenkova, publishes simultaneously.

A great introduction to an architect, a feminist, and a leader who showed the world the impossible. (Picture book/biography. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-78603-745-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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Blandly laudatory.

I AM WALT DISNEY

From the Ordinary People Change the World series

The iconic animator introduces young readers to each “happy place” in his life.

The tally begins with his childhood home in Marceline, Missouri, and climaxes with Disneyland (carefully designed to be “the happiest place on Earth”), but the account really centers on finding his true happy place, not on a map but in drawing. In sketching out his early flubs and later rocket to the top, the fictive narrator gives Ub Iwerks and other Disney studio workers a nod (leaving his labor disputes with them unmentioned) and squeezes in quick references to his animated films, from Steamboat Willie to Winnie the Pooh (sans Fantasia and Song of the South). Eliopoulos incorporates stills from the films into his cartoon illustrations and, characteristically for this series, depicts Disney as a caricature, trademark mustache in place on outsized head even in childhood years and child sized even as an adult. Human figures default to white, with occasional people of color in crowd scenes and (ahistorically) in the animation studio. One unidentified animator builds up the role-modeling with an observation that Walt and Mickey were really the same (“Both fearless; both resourceful”). An assertion toward the end—“So when do you stop being a child? When you stop dreaming”—muddles the overall follow-your-bliss message. A timeline to the EPCOT Center’s 1982 opening offers photos of the man with select associates, rodent and otherwise. An additional series entry, I Am Marie Curie, publishes simultaneously, featuring a gowned, toddler-sized version of the groundbreaking physicist accepting her two Nobel prizes.

Blandly laudatory. (bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-7352-2875-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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A good introduction to observation, data, and trying again.

CECE LOVES SCIENCE

From the Cece and the Scientific Method series

Cece loves asking “why” and “what if.”

Her parents encourage her, as does her science teacher, Ms. Curie (a wink to adult readers). When Cece and her best friend, Isaac, pair up for a science project, they choose zoology, brainstorming questions they might research. They decide to investigate whether dogs eat vegetables, using Cece’s schnauzer, Einstein, and the next day they head to Cece’s lab (inside her treehouse). Wearing white lab coats, the two observe their subject and then offer him different kinds of vegetables, alone and with toppings. Cece is discouraged when Einstein won’t eat them. She complains to her parents, “Maybe I’m not a real scientist after all….Our project was boring.” Just then, Einstein sniffs Cece’s dessert, leading her to try a new way to get Einstein to eat vegetables. Cece learns that “real scientists have fun finding answers too.” Harrison’s clean, bright illustrations add expression and personality to the story. Science report inserts are reminiscent of The Magic Schoolbus books, with less detail. Biracial Cece is a brown, freckled girl with curly hair; her father is white, and her mother has brown skin and long, black hair; Isaac and Ms. Curie both have pale skin and dark hair. While the book doesn’t pack a particularly strong emotional or educational punch, this endearing protagonist earns a place on the children’s STEM shelf.

A good introduction to observation, data, and trying again. (glossary) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 19, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-249960-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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