It’s a bit sketchy of historical detail, but it’s coherent, inspirational, and engaging without indulging in rapturous...

ROSA PARKS

From the Little People, BIG DREAMS series

A first introduction to the iconic civil rights activist.

“She was very little and very brave, and she always tried to do what was right.” Without many names or any dates, Kaiser traces Parks’ life and career from childhood to later fights for “fair schools, jobs, and houses for black people” as well as “voting rights, women’s rights and the rights of people in prison.” Though her refusal to change seats and the ensuing bus boycott are misleadingly presented as spontaneous acts of protest, young readers will come away with a clear picture of her worth as a role model. Though recognizable thanks to the large wire-rimmed glasses Parks sports from the outset as she marches confidently through Antelo’s stylized illustrations, she looks childlike throughout (as characteristic of this series), and her skin is unrealistically darkened to match the most common shade visible on other African-American figures. In her co-published Emmeline Pankhurst (illustrated by Ana Sanfelippo), Kaiser likewise simplistically implies that Great Britain led the way in granting universal women’s suffrage but highlights her subject’s courageous quest for justice, and Isabel Sánchez Vegara caps her profile of Audrey Hepburn (illustrated by Amaia Arrazola) with the moot but laudable claim that “helping people across the globe” (all of whom in the pictures are dark-skinned children) made Hepburn “happier than acting or dancing ever had.” All three titles end with photographs and timelines over more-detailed recaps plus at least one lead to further information.

It’s a bit sketchy of historical detail, but it’s coherent, inspirational, and engaging without indulging in rapturous flights of hyperbole. (Picture book/biography. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-78603-018-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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A warm, informative, and entertaining biography of a pioneering scholar, lawyer, and judge.

YOU ARE A STAR, RUTH BADER GINSBURG

From the You Are a Star series

In this first volume of a new nonfiction series, journalist Robbins regales readers with tales of the notorious RBG, former associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Conversational first-person narration, inset graphics, fact boxes, and appealing digital illustrations combine to paint a well-rounded picture of Ruth Bader Ginsburg from childhood to adulthood. Readers will be interested to learn about RBG’s formative years growing up in Brooklyn, New York; her struggles with sexism; her supportive family; and how she stood up for women, immigrants, people of color, and same-sex couples seeking fair treatment under the law during her long, illustrious career. Bader Ginsburg’s strong spirit, unrivaled work ethic, sense of humor, and dedication to equality and justice shine through in this telling. Details that youngsters have likely not considered—for example, the lack of female bathrooms in male-dominated spaces such as law schools and the Supreme Court—capture the time period and show the realities of the everyday sexism RGB faced. The closing spread extends a compelling invitation: “Won’t you join us in making the world a better place?” Although the text can sometimes feel a bit cloying, overall the story bubbles with enthusiasm and interesting tidbits that will draw children in.

A warm, informative, and entertaining biography of a pioneering scholar, lawyer, and judge. (author’s note, notes, timeline, resources, glossary) (Picture book biography. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-76766-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2021

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There’s not much beyond the razzle-dazzle, but it’s got that in spades.

ROAR

A DINOSAUR TOUR

Intense hues light up a prehistoric parade.

It’s really all about the colors. The endpapers are twinned head-shot galleries captioned, in the front, with scientific names (“Tyrannosaurus rex”) and pronunciations and, in the rear, translations of same (“Tyrant Lizard King”). In between, Paul marches 18 labeled dinos—mostly one type per page or spread, all flat, white-eyed silhouettes posed (with occasional exceptions) facing the same way against inconspicuously stylized background. The text runs toward the trite: “Some dinosaurs were fast… / and other dinosaurs were slow.” But inspired by the fact that we know very little about how dinosaurs were decorated (according to a brief author’s note), Paul makes each page turn a visual flash. Going for saturated hues and vivid contrasts rather than complex patterns, he sets red-orange spikes like flames along the back of a mottled aquamarine Kentrosaurus, places a small purple-blue Compsognathus beneath a towering Supersaurus that glows like a blown ember, pairs a Giganotosaurus’ toothy head and crest in similarly lambent shades to a spotted green body, and outfits the rest of his cast in like finery. “Today you can see their bones at the museum,” he abruptly, inadequately, and simplistically concludes.

There’s not much beyond the razzle-dazzle, but it’s got that in spades. (Informational picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: April 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6698-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

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