THE SINGING SNAKE

When ``Old Man'' promises to make a musical instrument in honor of the creature with the most beautiful voice, Snake cheats: Jealous of Lark's song but unable to imitate it, he captures the bird in his throat. Though the voice now expresses anguish, the other animals are impressed by its beauty, and Old Man names Snake the winner. As promised, he does make an instrument that looks like Snake—a long, straight horn; but, meanwhile, Lark scratches Snake's throat so that, even after he lets her go, his voice is forever harsh—while the other animals, disgusted with his perfidy, refuse to speak to him. Czernecki illustrates this nicely balanced retelling of an Australian pourquoi tale with glowing illustrations in jewel-like tones, incorporating stylized aboriginal motifs in his striking, decorative designs. (Folklore/Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 19, 1993

ISBN: 1-56282-399-X

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1993

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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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