A look at the 1969 moon landing in a consummate picture book that also introduces space exploration, recounts historical events, portrays real people, relates facts, tells a story, and leaves readers with the happiest of endings: ``One small step for man . . .'' Suen's first book accomplishes all this clearly and in a way that will interest even young children: ``Moon, do you remember your first visitors?'' The astronauts are succinctly introduced in well-turned sentences: ``Each had flown in space, but no one had ever touched the moon. No one.'' The suspense of the journey, the marvel of space travel, and Armstrong's historic statement are described in a practical, seasoned fashion. As for the art, expert compositions convey the awesome proportions of space and spacecraft. A variety of perspectives provide drama: the landing as seen from the moon's surface, a close-up of two astronauts circling each other in weightlessness inside the capsule. An author's note and a footnote on perhaps the most famous verbal gaffe in recorded history (Armstrong's ``man'' instead of ``a man'') round out this perfect introduction to space, the space program, and exploration. Thrilling. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-670-87393-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1997

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A white youth from Ohio, Sheldon Russell Curtis (Say), and a black youth from Georgia, Pinkus Aylee (Pink), meet as young soldiers with the Union army. Pink finds Say wounded in the leg after a battle and brings him home with him. Pink's mother, Moe Moe Bay, cares for the boys while Say recuperates, feeding and comforting them and banishing the war for a time. Whereas Pink is eager to go back and fight against "the sickness" that is slavery, Say is afraid to return to his unit. But when he sees Moe Moe Bay die at the hands of marauders, he understands the need to return. Pink and Say are captured by Confederate soldiers and brought to the notorious Andersonville prison camp. Say is released months later, ill and undernourished, but Pink is never released, and Polacco reports that he was hanged that very first day because he was black. Polacco (Babushka Baba Yaga, 1993, etc; My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother, above) tells this story, which was passed down for generations in her family (Say was her great-great-grandfather), carefully and without melodrama so that it speaks for itself. The stunning illustrations — reminiscent of the German expressionist Egon Shiele in their use of color and form — are completely heartbreaking. A spectacular achievement. (Nonfiction/Picture book. 4- 8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 1994

ISBN: 0-399-22671-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1994

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Young Cal lives high in Kentucky’s Appalachian Mountains. Sister Lark keeps her nose in a book nearly from daybreak to dusty dark. Cal’s a mite suspicious—and more than a mite resentful—of this, as he spends most of his time helping Pap with chores. One day, he spies a sorrel mare clippity-clopping slowly up the mountain; the rider’s not a man neither, but a lady wearing britches! She carries a passel of books in her saddle packs; all the family (exceptin’ Cal) welcomes her warmly. Back she comes several times a year, no matter how bad the weather. This causes Cal to wonder why she’s so dedicated, and he asks Lark to help him learn to read. By the time the Pack Horse Librarian appears again, she’s made another convert. Small’s illustrations, combining ink, watercolor and chalk, add an appropriately earthy warmth, complementing the precise prose beautifully. Every line oozes character: The hound dog’s ears flop like nobody’s business, and Cal’s face in the foreground displays every emotion as he moves from scowling suspicion to wonder. (author’s note) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 21, 2008

ISBN: 978-1-4169-0812-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2008

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