BLUEBONNET GIRL

Those interested in regional folklore and flowers will find this retelling by first-time author Lind to be of special interest; all readers will find it to be a satisfying story of the origin of the Texas bluebonnet. Introduced with a two-stanza poem Lind’s retelling recounts in rhyme the oft-told tale of a young girl who takes the initiative to sacrifice her prized possession, a doll with a bonnet made of bluejay feathers. Others in her tribe selfishly cling to their prized possessions, unwilling to make a sacrifice to end the drought afflicting her people. It is just the little girl who is willing, and only after she watches her doll burn and turn to ashes does she return to her tepee. In the night the rain comes and brings with it lush fields filled with blue and white blossoms: the legendary bluebonnet. A nice contrast to Tomie dePaola’s The Legend of the Bluebonnet (1983), which has sometimes been cited as being too frightening for the very young reader, Lind’s version does not divulge the girl’s family situation but has her acting alone to make her sacrifice. In this version, the doll is a precious companion rather than the last remaining keepsake from a family she has lost. Kiesler (Wings on the Wind, 2002, etc.) uses acrylics in full-bleed paintings to enrich the verses. Color is used to evoke the somber and then joyous mood of each story incident; the double-page spread of the glorious bluebonnets rising to the soft clouds and blue sky is particularly striking. An author’s note summarizes the origin of the tale and provides a brief chronology of the Comanche nation and their presence in the Southwest. A pleasant introduction to a popular legend. (Picture book/folktale. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-8050-6573-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2003

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A life devoted to freedom and dignity, worthy of praise and remembrance.

MUMBET'S DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE

With the words of Massachusetts colonial rebels ringing in her ears, a slave determines to win her freedom.

In 1780, Mumbet heard the words of the new Massachusetts constitution, including its declaration of freedom and equality. With the help of a young lawyer, she went to court and the following year, won her freedom, becoming Elizabeth Freeman. Slavery was declared illegal and subsequently outlawed in the state. Woelfle writes with fervor as she describes Mumbet’s life in the household of John Ashley, a rich landowner and businessman who hosted protest meetings against British taxation. His wife was abrasive and abusive, striking out with a coal shovel at a young girl, possibly Mumbet’s daughter. Mumbet deflected the blow and regarded the wound as “her badge of bravery.” Ironically, the lawyer who took her case, Theodore Sedgwick, had attended John Ashley’s meetings. Delinois’ full-bleed paintings are heroic in scale, richly textured and vibrant. Typography becomes part of the page design as the font increases when the text mentions freedom. Another slave in the Ashley household was named in the court case, but Woelfle, keeping her young audience in mind, keeps it simple, wisely focusing on Mumbet.

A life devoted to freedom and dignity, worthy of praise and remembrance. (author’s note, selected bibliography, further reading) (Picture book/biography. 5-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7613-6589-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Carolrhoda

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2013

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MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE

An inspiring story of young boy's compelling desire to read. As a boy of nine, Booker works in a salt mine from the dark of early morning to the gloom of night, hungry for a meal, but even hungrier to learn to read. Readers follow him on his quest in Malden, Virginia, where he finds inspiration in a man ``brown as me'' reading a newspaper on a street corner. An alphabet book helps, but Booker can't make the connection to words. Seeking out ``that brown face of hope'' once again, Booker gains a sense of the sounds represented by letters, and these become his deliverance. Bradby's fine first book is tautly written, with a poetic, spiritual quality in every line. The beautifully executed, luminous illustrations capture the atmosphere of an African-American community post-slavery: the drudgery of days consumed by back- breaking labor, the texture of private lives conducted by lantern- light. There is no other context or historical note about Booker T. Washington's life, leaving readers to piece together his identity. Regardless, this is an immensely satisfying, accomplished work, resonating first with longing and then with joy. (Picture book. 5- 8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-531-09464-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1995

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