A delectable delight daring readers to embrace the 80,000 species of Earth’s edible plants.

TRY IT!

HOW FRIEDA CAPLAN CHANGED THE WAY WE EAT

Baby corn? Seedless watermelons? Purple potatoes? Who’d eat that?

Frieda Caplan was the plucky produce promoter who mainstreamed much of the world’s delicacies and innovative hybrids into the American kitchen. Starting her own eponymous company—Frieda’s—in 1962, she ensured that her reputation was made in what was then an all-male wholesale produce business. Almost nothing was too far-out for Frieda; after all, spaghetti squash was just one more recipe card in search of a convert. However, even Frieda was stumped with the Chinese gooseberry—but sales took off after she renamed it a kiwi. Anyone who bites into a crunchy jicama or a fiery habanero purchased from a supermarket can thank the adventurous taste buds of this pioneering greengrocer. Rockliff’s snappy sentences and rollicking alliteration make this a fun read-aloud: “Farmers dug for tips on what to grow. Cooks peppered her with questions”; “mounds of mongosteen, heaps of jicama, and quantities of quince.” Potter’s signature flat palette gives way to bright purples, brilliant reds, and crisp greens. The retro illustrations follow Frieda from her entry into a marketplace filled with “boxes of bananas. Piles of potatoes. Truckloads of tomatoes” to a consumer wonderland filled with boxes of donut peaches and cherimoyas. Frieda, a Jewish Angeleno, presents White; people of color appear as both fellow wholesalers and customers. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at actual size.)

A delectable delight daring readers to embrace the 80,000 species of Earth’s edible plants. (author's note; bibliography) (Informational picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: Jan. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5344-6007-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2020

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An important and inspiring tale well told.

CARTER READS THE NEWSPAPER

This biography of the “father of Black History,” Dr. Carter G. Woodson, highlights experiences that shaped his passion.

Carter was born after the Civil War, but his parents had been slaves, and he grew up hearing the stories of their lives. With six siblings, Carter experienced lean times as a boy. Carter’s father, who couldn’t read or write, had Carter read the newspaper aloud. As a teenager, Carter had to work to help his family. In the coal mines, he met Oliver Jones, a Civil War veteran who opened his small home to the other men as a reading room. There, Carter once again took on the role of reader, informing Oliver and his friends of what was in the paper—and then researching to tell them more. After three years in the mines, he moved home to continue his education, eventually earning a Ph.D. from Harvard, where a professor challenged him to prove that his people had a history. In 1926 he established Negro History Week, which later became Black History Month. Hopkinson skillfully shapes Carter’s childhood, family history, and formative experiences into a cohesive story. The soft curves and natural palette of Tate’s illustrations render potentially scary episodes manageable for young readers, and portraits of historical figures offer an opening to further discovery. The incorporation of newsprint into many page backgrounds artfully echoes the title, and the inclusion of notable figures from black history reinforces the theme (a key is in the backmatter).

An important and inspiring tale well told. (author’s note, illustrator’s note, resources, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 6-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-56145-934-6

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2018

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A worthy introduction to this master artist.

MORNINGS WITH MONET

Claude Monet spends an early morning in his “studio boat,” painting scenes of the Seine.

Rosenstock and GrandPré, who’ve amply demonstrated their ability to distill an artist’s work into a rich essence for young readers with biographies of Kandinsky, Van Gogh, and Chagall, now describe an imagined morning in the life of Monet, a founding impressionist. Here, the painter, now rich and famous, sets off to work at 3:30 a.m. In her respectful narrative, the writer’s word choice is precise and revealing. Monet “clambers aboard” his boat and counts his canvases in French: “un, deux, trois, quatre.” Rosenstock describes his working process, “painting the river’s colors, and the air around the colors,” and she weaves in some historical background. GrandPré’s illustrations, painted with acrylics, support and enhance the text. Readers see an older White man with a lush white beard and the “broad belly” and “sturdy legs” of the text. Toward the end, one particularly appealing spread shows Monet’s tools—the canvas, the palette, the brushes—and the artist, satisfied with his morning’s work. The colors are astonishing: from the bright aquamarine of the cover, the faintly violet dawn, the pinks, yellows, and oranges of the sunlight, and the tea-colored interiors. Always, there are brush strokes of other colors visible. An informative author’s note extends the artist’s biography, but the picture of his life painted in this single encounter is sufficient. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 63% of actual size.)

A worthy introduction to this master artist. (sources, acknowledgments) (Informational picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-525-70817-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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