A DAY FOR REMEMBERIN'

INSPIRED BY THE TRUE EVENTS OF THE FIRST MEMORIAL DAY

A community of former slaves honors the fallen heroes who made them free.

It’s 1865, and White people are “mad ’cause we aren’t enslaved no more” (a fantastic burn!). Eli wants to follow his father to his work, but his parents are adamant that he take advantage of the education he is now entitled to and go to school. But finally, one day is so special that he gets to follow his father to work. The adult men are digging and building at the old Charleston racecourse, used as a prison for Union soldiers during the war, while Eli and the other children paint a picket fence. Finally, there’s a parade that culminates in sermons, songs, and laying flowers at the graves of Union soldiers buried at the former track, both Black and White. It’s Decoration Day, which will later become today’s Memorial Day. Cooper’s illustrations are soft and gentle, his muted color palette with many yellows, browns, and tans working well to convey the dusty workplace and the toil it takes to build a memorial site. His customary technique lends a gauzy haze to the proceedings. Henderson’s choice to show the development of this day of remembrance from the perspective of a child involved in the literal work required to build it gives the story weight and meaning. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at 68% of actual size.)

A treasure. (author's note, timeline, notes) (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: May 11, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3630-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

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THE STONE OF FIRE

From the Cavemice series , Vol. 1

Warp back in time for a prehistoric spinoff adventure with Geronimo Stilton’s ancestor, Geronimo Stiltonoot, in Old Mouse City.

Readers will find Geronimo Stiltonoot a familiar character, outfitted differently from descendant Stilton yet still running a newspaper and having wild adventures. In this introduction to prehistoric mouse life, someone has stolen the most powerful and important artifact housed by the Old Mouse City Mouseum: the Stone of Fire. It’s up to Stiltonoot and his fellow sleuth and friend, Hercule Poirat, to uncover not only the theft, but a dangerous plot that jeopardizes all of Old Mouse City. As stand-ins for the rest of the Stilton cast, Stiltonoot has in common with Stilton a cousin named Trap, a sister named Thea and a nephew named Benjamin. The slapstick comedy and design, busy with type changes and color, will be familiar for Stilton readers. The world is fictionalized for comedic effect, featuring funny uses for dinosaurs and cheeky references to how far back in time they are, with only the occasional sidebar that presents facts. The story takes a bit long to get started, spending a lot of time reiterating the worldbuilding information laid out before the first chapter. But once it does start, it is an adventure Stilton readers will enjoy. Geronimo Stiltonoot has the right combination of familiarity and newness to satisfy Stilton fans. (Fiction. 6-10)

 

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-545-44774-4

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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COOLIES

As a boy and his grandmother celebrate the Ching Ming Festival, a holiday honoring one’s ancestors, the grandmother tells the story of her great-grandfather, Shek, who came from China to California in 1865 to work on the transcontinental railroad. Shek and his little brother Wong endured the two-month trip to America and immediately signed up with the Central Pacific Railroad Company to work as laborers. The Chinese workers, known derogatorily as “coolies,” from a Chinese word meaning “bitter labor,” were paid less than their European counterparts and were often given the most dangerous jobs, those involving explosives, for example, and were forced to work in terrible weather conditions. (The author’s note informs the reader that thousands of Chinese laborers died while working on the railroad.) Shek and the other Chinese workers tried to stand up for themselves by staging a strike, but were forced to back down before any of their demands were met. Even when the railroad’s completion is celebrated, the importance of the Chinese laborers is ignored. After four years on the railroad, Shek and Wong used their earnings to open a store in San Francisco and eventually brought the rest of their family over to the US. Soentpiet’s signature glowing watercolors bathe the images with light. The pictures of big scenes—the teeming shipyard, the crowded living quarters on the ship, a campfire surrounded by snow-covered mountains, a busy San Francisco street—are striking and grand. The design—each double-page spread laid out with ¾ of the page as illustration while the ¼ on the left holds the text in a box—allows for a fuller view of the sweeping scenes. This is an important story, full of drama and emotion and it is here given its proper recognition and tribute in both words and glorious art. Perhaps it will encourage other grandparents to share their family history as well. Masterful. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-399-23227-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2001

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