Thoughtful and evocative, this book will bring a score of new readers to Carroll’s impressive work.

ONE FUN DAY WITH LEWIS CARROLL

A CELEBRATION OF WORDPLAY AND A GIRL NAMED ALICE

Tumble down the rabbit hole into a wonderland filled with rhymes and whimsical wordplay.

In their first collaboration together, Krull and Sardá produce a delightful confection that is part Lewis Carroll biography and part word game. This charming picture book combines the nonsense words and phrases that became his trademark and names from his famous books about Alice to bring readers on a guided tour of Carroll’s madcap yet irresistible fantasy world. Along the way, readers learn the story of Carroll’s childhood and his meeting with the Liddell family that produced the books that made him a household name. The witty prose is aided and abetted by Sardá’s illustrations, which breathe new life into the infamous characters from Carroll’s life and Alice’s adventures. The illustrator’s double-page spreads are a wonderland in and of themselves, a riot of color that grounds the figures in the real world while also rendering them fantastical. The world created by the text and illustrations is tantalizing yet off-putting; it perfectly re-creates what Wonderland is meant to be, and the human figures in the pictures are, appropriately, both beautiful and slightly creepy. Krull refers to her subject as “Lewis” in the body of the text, not revealing Charles Dodgson’s real name until a closing note.

Thoughtful and evocative, this book will bring a score of new readers to Carroll’s impressive work. (glossary, sources) (Picture book/biography. 3-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 9, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-544-34823-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

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A memorable life—a forgettable presentation.

I AM JACKIE ROBINSON

From the Ordinary People Change the World series

Baseball’s No. 42 strikes out.

Even as a babe in his mother’s arms, Robinson is depicted wearing his Brooklyn Dodgers baseball cap in this latest entry in the Ordinary People Change the World series. He narrates his childhood alongside cartoon panels that show him as an expert runner and thrower. Racism and poverty are also part of his growing up, along with lessons in sharing and courage. Incredibly, the Negro Leagues are not mentioned beyond a passing reference to “a black team” with a picture of the Kansas City Monarchs next to their team bus (still looking like a child in the illustration, Robinson whines, “Gross! Is this food or goo?”). In 1946, Branch Rickey signs him to play for the Dodgers’ farm team, and the rest, as they say, is history. Robinson concludes his story with an exhortation to readers to be brave, strong and use their “power to do what’s right. / Use that power for a cause that you believe in.” Meltzer writes his inspirational biography as a first-person narrative, which risks being construed and used as an autobiography—which it is not. The digitally rendered cartoon illustrations that show Robinson as a perpetual child fall sadly short of capturing his demeanor and prowess.

A memorable life—a forgettable presentation. (photographs, timeline, sources, further reading) (Picture book/biography. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8037-4086-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2014

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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

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