An elegant picture book that will signal to young readers that there is more to the story than the familiar green-skinned...

SHE MADE A MONSTER

HOW MARY SHELLEY CREATED FRANKENSTEIN

Fulton chooses a dramatic event in Mary Shelley’s tumultuous life to illustrate how one of the most famous monsters in the world came to life.

Mary; her fiance, the famous poet Percy Bysshe Shelley; and other friends, including the poet Byron, are gathered at Byron’s villa on the shores of Lake Geneva. As a fearful thunderstorm rages, the conversation turns to the supernatural and the friends’ response to Byron’s challenge that each member of the group should write a ghost story. However, Mary cannot come up with an idea for a story. Two events inspire her. She overhears the men discussing the latest scientific experiments with galvanism, the process of inducing movement in dead creatures. And the opening scene of the novel came to her in a dream, featuring the monster in all his terrifying glory. Fulton gives the story a feminist twist, reminding readers of the influence of Mary’s mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, whose “stirring words about democracy and the rights of women” spur her daughter to prove that “a woman’s writing could be just as important as a man’s.” Sala’s dramatic watercolor-and-ink illustrations, rendered in a controlled palette of predominately sepia and gray (excellent for limning livid, undead flesh), well-complemented by the classic typeface, evocatively depict the young white woman and the demons that beset her.

An elegant picture book that will signal to young readers that there is more to the story than the familiar green-skinned monster . (Picture book/biography. 7-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-57960-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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Several unexpected connections, though Eurocentric overall and lacking in racial diversity.

HEAD TO HEAD

18 LINKED PORTRAITS OF PEOPLE WHO CHANGED THE WORLD

Renowned achievers go nose-to-nose on fold-out pages.

Mixing contemporary celebrities with historical figures, Corbineau pairs off his gallery of full-page portraits by theme, the images all reworked from photos or prints into cut-paper collages with highly saturated hues. Gandhi and Rosa Parks exemplify nonviolent protest; Mother Teresa and Angelina Jolie are (mostly) commended for their work with impoverished people; and a “common point” between Gutenberg and Mark Zuckerberg is that both revolutionized the ways we communicate. The portraits, on opposite ends of gatefolds, open to reveal short biographies flanking explanatory essays. Women and people of color are distinctly underrepresented. There are a few surprises, such as guillotined French playwright Olympe de Gouges, linked for her feminism with actress Emma Watson; extreme free-fall jumper Felix Baumgartner, paired with fellow aerialist record-seeker Amelia Earhart; and Nelson Mandela’s co–freedom fighter Jean Moulin, a leader of the French Resistance. In another departure from the usual run of inspirational panegyrics, Cornabas slips in the occasional provocative claim, noting that many countries considered Mandela’s African National Congress a terrorist organization and that Mother Teresa, believing that suffering was “a gift from God,” rarely gave her patients painkillers. Although perhaps only some of these subjects “changed the world” in any significant sense, all come off as admirable—for their ambition, strength of character, and drive.

Several unexpected connections, though Eurocentric overall and lacking in racial diversity. (map, timeline) (Collective biography. 8-11)

Pub Date: Nov. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-7643-6226-2

Page Count: 84

Publisher: Schiffer

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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What makes one person step into danger to help others? A question worthy of discussion, with this title as an admirable...

THE BRAVE CYCLIST

THE TRUE STORY OF A HOLOCAUST HERO

An extraordinary athlete was also an extraordinary hero.

Gino Bartali grew up in Florence, Italy, loving everything about riding bicycles. After years of studying them and years of endurance training, he won the 1938 Tour de France. His triumph was muted by the outbreak of World War II, during which Mussolini followed Hitler in the establishment of anti-Jewish laws. In the middle years of the conflict, Bartali was enlisted by a cardinal of the Italian church to help Jews by becoming a document courier. His skill as a cyclist and his fame helped him elude capture until 1944. When the war ended, he kept his clandestine efforts private and went on to win another Tour de France in 1948. The author’s afterword explains why his work was unknown. Yad Vashem, the Israeli Holocaust museum, honored him as a Righteous Among the Nations in 2013. Bartali’s is a life well worth knowing and well worthy of esteem. Fedele’s illustrations in mostly dark hues will appeal to sports fans with their action-oriented scenes. Young readers of World War II stories will gain an understanding from the somber wartime pages.

What makes one person step into danger to help others? A question worthy of discussion, with this title as an admirable springboard. (photograph, select bibliography, source notes) (Picture book/biography. 7-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68446-063-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Capstone Editions

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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