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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THE FISH SKIN

When Grandfather Sun pauses to admire his reflection in a lake, the villagers enjoy his warmth so much that they ask the clouds to leave—but they soon regret their impulse when the lingering sun parches the land. To save his people, a young man dons a magic fish skin, summons the clouds, and hurls lake water into the sky to fall as rain. This Cree legend about preserving balance in nature is retold in simple, fluid prose from an oral transmission. Morrisseau is a young artist of Chippewa extraction; his illustrations are sometimes overliteral (a ``dusty cough'' is depicted as a solid-looking mass ejected from Wolf's throat), with only scattered and sketchy details of Cree art or cultural style, and his juxtapositions of bright tones are far from subtle, but they do add color and feeling to the story. (Folklore/Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 19, 1993

ISBN: 1-56282-401-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1993

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FAIR, BROWN AND TREMBLING

AN IRISH CINDERELLA STORY

Another version of the Cinderella story, this one based on a traditional Irish folktale. Three daughters, Fair, Brown, and Trembling, live with their father in a castle in the beautiful Irish countryside. Trembling, the most beautiful of the daughters, is forced to stay at home to cook and clean by her domineering older sisters, Fair and Brown. One Sunday morning, an old henwife comes into the castle’s kitchen, outfits Trembling in a beautiful long white dress, and sends her along to church on a horse she has just conjured up. The henwife warns Trembling not to actually go inside the church and to jump on the horse and ride away as fast as she can the minute the service ends. Trembling causes quite a sensation among the people—she charms all of the men and evokes envy from the women, who are jealous of her beauty and her gorgeous clothes. After Trembling’s third visit to the church, just as she is dashing away on her snow-white horse, the Prince of Emania pulls off one of Trembling’s elegant blue slippers. The Prince and many other princes who have traveled from other parts of Ireland and from as far away as Africa to propose to Trembling, travel the country looking for the woman for whom the shoe will be a perfect fit. The prince finally finds Trembling and, after fighting off all the competing princes, claims her for his wife. They have 14 children and live happily ever after. The two sisters, by the way, are put out to sea on a barrel, a punishment that seems a tad on the harsh side considering that the sisters are mean rather than actually evil or cruel. The illustrations feature elongated, attenuated figures with indistinct, blurry faces that children may find rather inaccessible and off-putting. An interesting, although somewhat cold and flat retelling of the familiar story, this tale will perhaps be of more interest to students comparing versions of archetypal fairy tales than to the children for whom it is intended. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2000

ISBN: 0-374-32247-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2000

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