A compact but cogent tribute to a single voice for change that now leads a rising chorus.

OUR HOUSE IS ON FIRE

GRETA THUNBERG'S CALL TO SAVE THE PLANET

The origin story of the teenage climate change superhero.

Once, as she puts it, “the invisible girl in the back who doesn’t say anything,” Thunberg has, over just the last two years, become a major young presence in the environmental movement, inspiring “Friday school strikes” worldwide and challenging governing bodies to get off the stick: “I want you to panic,” she told the World Economic Forum in Davos. “I want you to act as if the house was on fire. Because it is.” Skipping Thunberg’s personal history aside from characterizing her as one who “could think about one thing for a long, long time” (an ability Thunberg associates with her Asperger’s diagnosis, unnamed here), Winter pithily retraces the course of her transformation. She begins with a teacher’s lecture on climate change and a period of intense reading and video watching and then goes on to show how Thunberg’s lonely Friday picket outside Stockholm’s Parliament building gains local, then international, support. The illustrations, equally spare, often place the white teenager front and center before culminating in a double-page spread filled with children of diverse hues and styles of dress holding up signs reading “Don’t Burn MY Future” and like urgent messages, followed by a direct question in big, cut-out letters: “WHAT WILL YOU DO?” As one sign puts it, “There Is No Planet B” for any of us.

A compact but cogent tribute to a single voice for change that now leads a rising chorus. (source notes) (Picture book/biography. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5344-6778-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2019

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Big and likely to draw a large audience both for its subject and the plethora of interactive doodads.

THE ULTIMATE BOOK OF ANIMALS

An outsized overview of animal types, senses, and common characteristics liberally endowed with flaps, pull-tabs, and like furbelows.

Della Malva’s realistically drawn animals crowd sturdy leaves large enough to feature life-size (or nearly so) images of the folded wings of a sea gull and a macaw, and Baumann fills the gaps between with meaty descriptive comments. On every page elements that lift, unfold, pop up, or spin aren’t just slapped on, but actively contribute to the presentation. On a “Birth and Growing” spread, for instance, each of six eggs from ostrich to platypus is a flap with an embryo beneath; a spinner presents a slideshow of a swallowtail’s life cycle from egg to adult; and no fewer than three attached booklets expand on the general topic using other species. Subsequent spreads cover animal sight, hearing, body coverings, grasping and touch, locomotion, and—centering on a startling gander down the pop-up maw of a wolf—eating. The animals and relevant body parts are all clearly labeled, and the text is pitched to serve equally well both casual browsers (“Even fish pee!”) and young zoologists seriously interested in the difference between “scales” and “scutes” or curious about the range of insect-mouth shapes.

Big and likely to draw a large audience both for its subject and the plethora of interactive doodads. (Informational novelty. 6-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 31, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-68464-281-6

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2021

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Blandly laudatory.

I AM WALT DISNEY

From the Ordinary People Change the World series

The iconic animator introduces young readers to each “happy place” in his life.

The tally begins with his childhood home in Marceline, Missouri, and climaxes with Disneyland (carefully designed to be “the happiest place on Earth”), but the account really centers on finding his true happy place, not on a map but in drawing. In sketching out his early flubs and later rocket to the top, the fictive narrator gives Ub Iwerks and other Disney studio workers a nod (leaving his labor disputes with them unmentioned) and squeezes in quick references to his animated films, from Steamboat Willie to Winnie the Pooh (sans Fantasia and Song of the South). Eliopoulos incorporates stills from the films into his cartoon illustrations and, characteristically for this series, depicts Disney as a caricature, trademark mustache in place on outsized head even in childhood years and child sized even as an adult. Human figures default to white, with occasional people of color in crowd scenes and (ahistorically) in the animation studio. One unidentified animator builds up the role-modeling with an observation that Walt and Mickey were really the same (“Both fearless; both resourceful”). An assertion toward the end—“So when do you stop being a child? When you stop dreaming”—muddles the overall follow-your-bliss message. A timeline to the EPCOT Center’s 1982 opening offers photos of the man with select associates, rodent and otherwise. An additional series entry, I Am Marie Curie, publishes simultaneously, featuring a gowned, toddler-sized version of the groundbreaking physicist accepting her two Nobel prizes.

Blandly laudatory. (bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-7352-2875-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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