Pure silliness: shelve far, far away from the biographies.



From the LieOgraphies series

All her life, Amelia has only one thing on her mind: flight.

At her third birthday party, all her presents are plane-themed. Her fifth grade class laughs at her eagerness to fly. She’s excited to attend a stunt-pilot show but misses it thanks to an out-of-date poster. Through it all, she clings to her pronouncement that “Someday I will fly.” Even when she finally procures a plane, she’s told that girls can’t fly (when proven wrong, the naysaying adult man apologizes). She perseveres and eventually makes big plans for her 50th flight. Katz lards the baldly fictional narrative with absurdities such as metafictive tricks, anachronisms, and gags of convenience. Blessedly, the book closes with “some factual facts” about Earhart’s life, most crucially noting that she apparently had “no particular interest in aviation during her childhood.” Thus, the book is self-admittedly what its title promises. The grayscale cartoons give no indication that any character is any race other than White. Rather, as Christopher Eliopoulos does in his illustrations of Brad Meltzer’s Ordinary People Change the World series, Hill depicts his protagonist the same way no matter her age, which becomes problematic when she’s 17 and still looks like a 3-year-old among tall, adult-proportioned figures. This read is best for those whose senses of irony and humor are developed enough to enjoy the foolishness and then dismiss it. Companion titles about Babe Ruth and Thomas Edison publish simultaneously.

Pure silliness: shelve far, far away from the biographies. (Fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-939100-48-1

Page Count: 100

Publisher: Tanglewood Publishing

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An interesting portrait of an American mover and shaker refreshingly presented in graphic novel format.


From the It's Her Story series

“Fighting Shirley” was no ordinary politician.

The story opens in Barbados, where Shirley Chisolm spent a relatively carefree early childhood with her sister, Muriel, on their grandparents’ farm. Upon being sent to live with her parents in Brooklyn, Shirley had to adjust to much stricter household rules. She excelled academically throughout her school years, and after graduating from Brooklyn College, began her teaching career in early childhood education. As an administrator of child care centers, Chisolm devoted herself to child welfare and community affairs. Her work put her in touch with the needs of working people and their families, and she labored ceaselessly to get candidates elected who would make meaningful changes. Eventually, she decided to run for office herself and became the second Black woman elected to the New York Assembly and, after that, the country’s first Black congresswoman. Aggs relates how Chisholm dedicated her efforts to improving the lives of her constituents, often finding herself at loggerheads with colleagues. Chisholm’s boldness and desire for change led her to seek the Democratic Party nomination for president of the United States. Although she was unsuccessful, her groundbreaking campaign was a momentous sociopolitical event. This lively, optimistic biography is an accessible introduction to Chisholm’s life for younger readers, highlighting her determination to stay true to herself and her ideals. The illustrations aren’t particularly original, but the colorful panels effectively propel the narrative.

An interesting portrait of an American mover and shaker refreshingly presented in graphic novel format. (Graphic biography. 8-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 15, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5037-6241-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Sunbird Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

At its best when the emphasis is on the skill and artistry of Mime’s most accomplished practitioner—alas, too much of the...



The legendary mime is introduced to a new generation, though not entirely successfully.

As a child, Marceau loved to silently entertain his friends, like his idol, Charlie Chaplin. During the Nazi occupation of France, Marcel and his brother took on new identities in the French Underground, where they forged documents for Jewish children and helped many to escape to Switzerland. Spielman assumes that her young audience will understand references to deportation and concentration camps; unfortunately for those that don't, her matter-of-fact tone speaks more of adventure than deadly peril. Her tone subtly changes when she lovingly describes Marceau’s training and development as a mime and his stage persona of Bip the clown, admiring his skills in the “art of silence” that won him international renown. But here too, comparisons to the Little Tramp and Pierrot may be outside readers’ frame of reference. Though the illustrations carefully complement the textual content with period details, Gauthier’s cartoon faces are all nearly identical, with only the screen image of Chaplin and Marceau’s Bip having distinctive features. A double-page spread at the conclusion provides photographs of Bip in action and is the only clear indication of Marceau’s stagecraft.

At its best when the emphasis is on the skill and artistry of Mime’s most accomplished practitioner—alas, too much of the book looks elsewhere. (Picture book/biography. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-7613-3961-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kar-Ben

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet