THANK YOU, SARAH

THE WOMAN WHO SAVED THANKSGIVING

The impish Faulkner (The Monster Who Ate My Peas, 2001, etc.) illustrates this rousing account of Sarah Hale’s campaign to make Thanksgiving a national holiday with crowds of caricatured celebrants in buckskins, football equipment, and every style of dress in between. (“Thanksgiving Canceled—No Football Today.”) Anderson (Catalyst, p. 1300, etc.), in a really silly mood, tells the tale with wide open theatricality: trumpeting, “WE ALMOST LOST . . . THANKSGIVING!” across a spread of dismayed diners and relieved looking turkeys, she introduces “a dainty little lady” as the holiday’s champion. An unlikely hero? “Never underestimate dainty little ladies,” the author warns, launching into a portrait of a 19th-century supermom—novelist, educator, magazine editor, widowed mother of five, eloquent supporter of many social causes and, yes, author of “Mary Had a Little Lamb”—who took on four Presidents in succession before finding one, Lincoln, who agreed with her that Thanksgiving, which had been largely a northeastern holiday, should be celebrated nationwide. “When folks started to ignore Thanksgiving, well, that just curdled her gravy.” Dishing up a closing “Feast of Facts” about the day and the woman, Anderson offers readers both an indomitable role model and a memorable, often hilarious glimpse into the historical development of this country’s common culture. Thank you, Anderson and Faulkner. (bibliography of sources) (Picture book/biography. 6-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-689-84787-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2002

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THE FANTASTIC UNDERSEA LIFE OF JACQUES COUSTEAU

This second early biography of Cousteau in a year echoes Jennifer Berne’s Manfish: A Story of Jacques Cousteau (2008), illustrated by Eric Puybaret, in offering visuals that are more fanciful than informational, but also complements it with a focus less on the early life of the explorer and eco-activist than on his later inventions and achievements. In full-bleed scenes that are often segmented and kaleidoscopic, Yaccarino sets his hook-nosed subject amid shoals of Impressionistic fish and other marine images, rendered in multiple layers of thinly applied, imaginatively colored paint. His customarily sharp, geometric lines take on the wavy translucence of undersea shapes with a little bit of help from the airbrush. Along with tracing Cousteau’s undersea career from his first, life-changing, pair of goggles and the later aqualung to his minisub Sea Flea, the author pays tribute to his revolutionary film and TV work, and his later efforts to call attention to the effects of pollution. Cousteau’s enduring fascination with the sea comes through clearly, and can’t help sparking similar feelings in readers. (chronology, source list) (Picture book/biography. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 24, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-375-85573-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2009

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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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