THE FIREBIRD

This is not the story made familiar by the ballet, but a related tale in which the firebird figures mostly at the outset, when one of its feathers is found by a huntsman who presents it to his king—a tyrant whose response is to send the poor fellow off to fetch the bird, which he is able to do with the advice of his admirable talking horse. But the huntsman's success only stimulates the king's greed, and he sends the man on mission after mission (a princess; her wedding dress), with dire threats in case of failure. Finally, the king's scheme to kill the huntsman backfires, the king dies in his stead, and the huntsman gets the princess. Hastings's brisk, lightly quizzical retelling is engagingly complemented by Cartwright's boldly stylized art. His statuesque figures are amusingly at odds with their lantern- jawed, large-nosed faces; the collage-like arrangements of areas of vibrant color are especially appropriate for groups. A lively addition to folklore collections. (Folklore/Picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: March 1, 1993

ISBN: 1-56402-096-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1993

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VOTE!

After the sorry example of the 2000 presidential election, it’s good to be reminded of the simple beauty—and hard-won right—of voting for a candidate. And Christelow goes farther in this primer on the process of electing a candidate. Simple language, gay color, and humorous subplots make for an appealing introduction to electoral politics, and she wisely complements her somewhat dry explanatory text with a typically funny word-bubble story of one woman’s mayoral campaign. Readers learn about political parties and polls, voter registration, to be wary of campaign advertising, the right to recounts, and are urged to conduct research into the candidates. There’s also a very handy timeline of voting rights that conveys the eye-opening evolution of democracy in the US. Impressively, Christelow gives to each individual vote a sense of importance—an act of participation that nestles in the heart of democracy. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 18, 2003

ISBN: 0-618-24754-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2003

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A reasonably solid grounding in constitutional rights, their flexibility, lacunae, and hard-won corrections, despite a few...

WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL ABOUT FREEDOM

Shamir offers an investigation of the foundations of freedoms in the United States via its founding documents, as well as movements and individuals who had great impacts on shaping and reshaping those institutions.

The opening pages of this picture book get off to a wobbly start with comments such as “You know that feeling you get…when you see a wide open field that you can run through without worrying about traffic or cars? That’s freedom.” But as the book progresses, Shamir slowly steadies the craft toward that wide-open field of freedom. She notes the many obvious-to-us-now exclusivities that the founding political documents embodied—that the entitled, white, male authors did not extend freedom to enslaved African-Americans, Native Americans, and women—and encourages readers to learn to exercise vigilance and foresight. The gradual inclusion of these left-behind people paints a modestly rosy picture of their circumstances today, and the text seems to give up on explaining how Native Americans continue to be left behind. Still, a vital part of what makes freedom daunting is its constant motion, and that is ably expressed. Numerous boxed tidbits give substance to the bigger political picture. Who were the abolitionists and the suffragists, what were the Montgomery bus boycott and the “Uprising of 20,000”? Faulkner’s artwork conveys settings and emotions quite well, and his drawing of Ruby Bridges is about as darling as it gets. A helpful timeline and bibliography appear as endnotes.

A reasonably solid grounding in constitutional rights, their flexibility, lacunae, and hard-won corrections, despite a few misfires. (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-399-54728-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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