A passable introduction to the life of Elvis Presley.


From the Little People, BIG DREAMS series , Vol. 80

A new entry in the Little People, BIG DREAMS series recounts the life story of the King of Rock ’n’ Roll.

Presley’s early musical influences—country and blues music—are established in the opening spreads describing his childhood. He is shown playing the guitar and glancing over at his Black neighbors, who are given to “singing blues on the porch,” while his mother hangs out wash and sings. Vegara weaves this theme of Presley’s affinity with the Black community throughout the story. Albero’s signature caricatures and flat scenes depict turning points in the icon’s life: his family’s move from Mississippi to Tennessee, his military service, his purchase of a mansion for his family, and his mother’s death. The book also covers career highlights: winning a school talent show, making his first commercial record, developing his dancing moves, and being awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award at age 36. Mention is made of his movies and televised tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. The biography concludes by noting that Presley was “the irreplaceable artist who changed the course of music history and made sure that no song would be black or white ever again.” While the facts of Presley’s life are presented, the undefined musical concepts will fly over the heads of many young readers, making the relationship between race and music less meaningful. For a more emotionally charged, age-appropriate profile, read Jonah Winter’s Elvis Is King (2019). (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A passable introduction to the life of Elvis Presley. (timeline, further reading) (Picture-book biography. 5-8)

Pub Date: May 17, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-7112-7087-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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Have the contact info for the local dojo handy—readers will want to try out these martial-arts styles for themselves.


"Dedication and practice pay off," is the message these three pigs painlessly deliver.

“Once upon a dangerous time,” a wolf plagued a town with his huffing and puffing, so three pigs—two hogs and a sow—attend Ninja School to learn how to face him. Each studies a different martial art, but the two brothers quickly lose interest; the third pig alone earns all her belts. So when the wolf comes calling, it’s no surprise when the brothers’ skills are not equal to the task. “The chase carried on to their sister’s. / Pig Three was outside in her gi. / ‘I’m a certified weapon, / so watch where you’re steppin’. / You don’t want to start up with me!’ ” A demonstration of her prowess is enough to send the wolf packing and the brothers back to their training. Schwartz’s sophomore outing is a standout among fractured fairy tales, masterfully combining rollicking limerick verse with a solid story, neither a slave to the other. The one quibble is the “Ninja” of the title—these pigs study the martial arts of aikido, jujitsu and karate. Santat’s illustrations are done with Sumi brush on rice paper and finished in Photoshop. The colors, patterns and themes nicely incorporate those of Japanese art, and the setting, with its background mountains, cherry blossoms and traditional rooftops, is firmly Japanese.

Have the contact info for the local dojo handy—readers will want to try out these martial-arts styles for themselves. (glossary) (Fractured fairy tale. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-399-25514-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: July 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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An early reader that kids will want to befriend.


In an odd-couple pairing of Bear and Chipmunk, only one friend is truly happy to spend the day at the beach.

“Not me!” is poor Chipmunk’s lament each time Bear expresses the pleasure he takes in sunning, swimming, and other activities at the beach. While controlled, repetitive text makes the story accessible to new readers, slapstick humor characterizes the busy watercolor-and-ink illustrations and adds interest. Poor Chipmunk is pinched by a crab, buried in sand, and swept upside down into the water, to name just a few mishaps. Although other animal beachgoers seem to notice Chipmunk’s distress, Bear cheerily goes about his day and seems blithely ignorant of his friend’s misfortunes. The playful tone of the illustrations helps soften the dynamic so that it doesn’t seem as though Chipmunk is in grave danger or that Bear is cruel. As they leave at the end of the book Bear finally asks, “Why did you come?” and Chipmunk’s sweet response caps off the day with a warm sunset in the background.

An early reader that kids will want to befriend. (Early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3546-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015

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