FINN MACCOUL AND HIS FEARLESS WIFE

A GIANT OF A TALE FROM IRELAND

This visually attractive treatment of the early Celtic folktale, in which Finn and his crafty wife foil the menacing giant, Cucullin, is musical in its wording and graced with a fine sprinkling of old Irish artifacts. Cucullin has it in for Finn, just as he has it in for every other giant in the land. As Finn and his wife, Oonagh, are wielders of faery magic—and Oonagh is also endowed with an uncommon store of quick wits—they set up a clever and humorous ruse that results in Cucullin losing his golden finger, the source of his ferocious strength, while Finn escapes being beaten into jelly. Byrd retells the tale with verve; his illustrations are elegant and fine-lined, decked with telling details of history and lore that not only spur interest in the proceedings but convey a palpable sense of the Celtic past. A synopsis of the MacCoul legend, source notes, and a pronunciation guide appear at the end of the book. (Picture book/folklore. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-525-45971-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1998

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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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Effectively argues that “People are more powerful together.”

SOMETIMES PEOPLE MARCH

Simple, direct statements are paired with watercolor illustrations to highlight some of the rallying causes for organized marches throughout the history of the United States.

The text and art begin with two marches that will reemerge as metaphor later in the book: a long line of ants marching to and from a piece of watermelon, and members of a blue-and-gold–clad marching band following their leader’s baton. As the band recedes on the verso, across the gutter an extremely diverse group of people similar to the crowds marching across the book’s cover advances toward readers on recto. Here the text repeats the book’s title. Next, negative space surrounds a small group of women and children—obviously from an earlier time—holding a protest sign. The text explains that sometimes people march “to resist injustice.” The facing page shows a contemporary family gazing with chagrin at a polluted beach; they will march because they “notice a need for change.” The text continues to offer simple explanations of why people march, eventually moving to other peaceful means of resistance, including signs, boycotts, strikes, sit-ins, and “taking a knee.” Hardship in the form of physical and psychic exhaustion is mentioned, but police and other legally sanctioned violence against protest is not—the general mood is uplifting encouragement to young, potential activists. This timely book combines rudimentary facts about peaceful resistance with art that depicts organized actions from the 19th century through today, and endnotes reveal more specifics about each illustration, including historic figures represented.

Effectively argues that “People are more powerful together.” (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-299118-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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