Showing posts with label young children's. Show all posts
Showing posts with label young children's. Show all posts

Friday, November 1, 2019

Greta and the Giants by Zoë Tucker, Zoe Persico


Rating: WORTHY!

From an advance review copy for which I thank the publisher.

I had some mixed feelings about this book jumping on the Greta Thunberg bandwagon. Greta herself is all about action, not about accolades, Recently she turned down an award of some fifty thousand dollars because that's not what she's about - although I do have to confess I don't get why she didn't accept it and donate the money to some organization that's doing something about the climate! But it was her choice, not mine, and I have to express some concern about those who might want to co-opt her good will and momentum, and try to profit from it.

There's nothing in this book to indicate whether Greta is even aware of it, let alone approves of it, since all we get is: "inspired by Greta Thunberg's stand to save the world." But in the end I decided a book like this will do more good than bad, and since it aims to get a useful message out there, and since 3% of the cover price is going to 350.org, which is an international environmental organization aiming to do something concrete about climate change, I have to hope that this book has the same good and selfless intentions that Greta has.

The story, written by Zoë Tucker is short, and to the point. The book is gorgeously illustrated by Zoe Persico in full glorious color. The giants are of course the fossil fuel industry and poor Greta is trying to save the woodlands and its denizens from the destructive encroachment of the industrial world. It makes for a useful teaching tool for the young.






Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Like Vanessa by Tami Charles


Rating: WARTY!

I wasn't thrilled with this audiobook, which had sounded like it might be a fun story. This young girl, Vanessa, is thrilled to discover that a black woman has, for the first time, won the Miss America contest. Since she shares a name with the winner, Vanessa Williams, she decides anything is possible and ends up entering a beauty pageant herself.

My hope was that this book, set in the early eighties, would quickly start teaching the very lessons it claims it will teach - about beauty being only skin deep and what's below that is far more important, but it took way too long to get there for my taste, and it was rather tedious and unsatisfactory on the journey. I DNF'd it, and I cannot commend it based on what I heard of the story.


History Dudes Ancient Egypt by Laura Buller, Rich Cando


Rating: WORTHY!

I liked this book. It was fun, full of detail, not remotely boring, and amusingly-illustrated by Cando (which I confess sounds suspiciously like a made-up name!). From my own researches into ancient Egypt for various projects I've been involved with such as Tears in Time and Cleoprankster, I could tell it was accurate, too.

It tells a young reader everything they might want to know about ancient Egypt and author Buller pulls no punches, beware. It discusses pulling out brains during mummification, and stuffing body organs into canopic jars. But it explains everything about everyday life as well as everyday death along with food, religion, habits, games, and so on. It talks about clothing, wigs, and shoes, about building pyramids, and everything else a young kid might want to know about an ancient and fascinating civilization. It's the perfect introduction to ancient Egypt for young children and I commend it wholeheartedly.


Puck of Pook's Hill by Rudyard Kipling


Rating: WARTY!

I've enjoyed more than one book by Kipling, but not this one I'm sorry to report. The first problem is with the title, because the book barely features Puck. It uses him instead as an introduction to history, and each chapter gives a concocted history lesson about a period in British history. The first two or three chapters cover the aftermath of the Norman invasion when William the Conqueror beat King Harald at Hastings, and the Normans took over Britain. Yes, everyone was called Norman. No, I'm kidding, of course.

The story covers one fictional character named Sir Richard, who takes over a manor as his spoils and fortunately happens to be a moderate and just lord. But that's all the story is. There isn't anything special about it, and while it may well have entertained children - or more accurately, the boys at which it's aimed - in Kipling's time, it really doesn't have anything to say to modern children because it's not even a good history lesson. I suspect the book tells us more about the history of Kipling's boyhood passions than ever it would about British history in general.

The next section goes even further and is about gorilla warfare - literally. It takes us back into Viking times and relates something about the endless Viking incursions into British coastal villages, raping and pillaging as they were wont to do. They somehow get blown off course and end up skirting the coast of Africa and encountering gorillas, who they view as hairy people.

Kipling appallingly and shamefully misrepresents gorillas. This was no more or less than people thought at a time when gorillas were kept in brutally disgraceful conditions in Edwardian zoos, but I expected something better and different from him. It wasn't forthcoming. The story dragged on and was boring, and it was at this point that I gave up on this book. I can't commend it as a worthy read.


Monday, September 2, 2019

Tootle by Gertrude Crampton, Tennant Redbank, Sue DiCiccio


Rating: WARTY!

This story - at one time the third best-selling hardback children's book in the English language - was originally written (in 1945) by Gertrude Crampton and illustrated by Hungarian artist Tibor Gergely. Neither get credit here. Those who do get credit get no copyright. The copyright goes to the publisher. Highly suspicious. I'm not sure why Big Publishing™ decided this needed to be adapted by Redbank and re-illustrated by DiCiccio, but while the illustrations were sweet and colorful, I'm not sure about the message this book conveys to modern children. That message is "Most of all? Stay on the rails no matter what!"

That sounds far too much like "stay in your lane." Do we really want kids to be told that they have to follow the same track as everyone else? Maybe back in 1945 there was a culture that saw nothing wrong with offering advice akin to 'children should be seen and not heard', but in the twenty-first century, I don't want my kids to be told they can't go off piste. I never have told them that.

There's a difference between going off the rails in a maniacal way, but that's not what's meant here. Tootle is trying to cut his own path - and admittedly he's forgetting his goal for the day, but he's also having fun, and finding out new things that he would never learn were he to rigidly follow those rails. As long as they were re-doing this anyway, a better story would have been to have him complete his task for the day, and then to sneak off the rails after hours and go do his own thing. A book like that, I could have got with.

I know there's a lot been said lately about staying in lanes - a lot of misogynistic crap included - but not all of the commentary on that has been well thought-through. I read an article titled "Gender Norms: The Problem With The 'Stay in Your Lane' Phenemenon," written by by Kourtney Kell where she actually wrote: "Was it because I thought I was going to get hit on? No, I wasn't even wearing makeup." This suggests to me that Kell seems to think she's ugly - or at least unattractive - without make-up. What? Talk about staying in your lane! I quit reading that article right there.

But I digress! The bottom line is that while there are certain societal conventions that are broken at one's peril, there is a serious problem with restricting children too much and trying to fit them into a certain box rather than let them choose the box - if any - they'd really like to get into. I know this book was simply intended as a fun young children's book; perhaps it was even intended as a lesson about following rules, but to me, in this day and age, it's far too constricting and I can't commend it as a worthy read.


Agatha Christie by Isabel Sánchez Vegara, Elisa Munsó


Rating: WORTHY!

I've been following the 'Little People, Big Dreams' series in the form of advance review copies from Net Galley. This is the first I've encountered in the 'real world'! It's also the first print book and it was a much larger format than I had imagined from the ebooks I've been reading. This came as part of a library search for Agatha Christie biographies so I decided to give it a look and while it was not anything spectacular, it was a worthy read considering the age range it's aimed at. It's a nice introduction to the second best-selling author in the world after Shakespeare (I don't count religious fiction).

The book keeps it simple in both illustration and text, and lays out the bare bones of her life from her childhood to her death. For a simple and basic introduction of the so-called Queen of Crime thrillers (I've had a mixed bag of results from my reading of her work). This works well. Any child who has literary aspirations could benefit from reading this, so I commend it as a worthy read.


Happenings at Hookwood by Michael Wilton


Rating: WARTY!

From an advance review copy for which I thank the publisher.

I made it a quarter the way through this, but had too many issues with it to continue. It may appeal to a certain set of readers, but I found it inappropriate for children and downright objectionable in parts.

The story is of a young rabbit named Startup who lives with his mom and dad in a community close by an old house. When a couple move into the house and bring their cat, an alarm runs through the wild community. This part I could get with because pet cats are in fact devastating our ecology. There are so many of them preying on wild birds and other animals that they're actually destroying wildlife at an alarming rate. Unfortunately that's not the thrust of this novel at all. On the contrary - rather than trying to do good with the fiction, it seems like the story is going in the opposite direction. More on this shortly.

My first problem with this is that while this is obviously a children's book, one of the rabbits smokes a pipe. Admittedly he does have it taken away by his wife later, but the fact that he had it at all is a problem in a children's novel. This is not the nineteen-fifties! I don't mind some anthropomorphization of animals in children's books, but if you're going to make them completely human, then why have them as animals at all? To me it makes no sense to divorce them completely from their nature. These rabbits - and other animals such as squirrels and owls, for example - were entirely human - so much so that they'd lost all connection with nature. That was a problem for me. This lack of a vision as to what their origin was, had become so all-encompassing that at one point Mrs Rabbit, Startup's mom, was making curtains. For a burrow. Which by definition is underground. Where there are no windows. I won't get into why mom is depicted in traditional female roles and so on.

The next problem was that Startup - who seems to be appropriately named, sought to trick a squirrel into paying him for recovering some nuts. I could not get my mind around exactly how this came to be despite going back and re-reading several pages, but clearly Startup's motives were hardly altruistic. I didn't think this was a good example to set before children.

Right after this we're introduced to a hare, the characterization of which is evidently heavily-influenced by the idea of 'mad as a march hare' and the creature is depicted as crazy which again to me was a highly inappropriate precedent to set before children when thinking about a person who appears to have to some mental health issues, or who is maybe simply a bit different in his approach to life. He was called 'Lenny the Looney' and Startup's attitude to him is described like this: "He had no desire to get caught up in a dotty duscussion with Hare'. That's about where I decided I didn't want to read any more of this book, and why I cannot commend it based on the portion of it I have read.


An ABC of Equality by Chana Ginelle Ewing, Paulina Morgan


Rating: WORTHY!

From an advance review copy for which I thank the publisher.

This is a neat little colorful book (illustrated by Morgan) for young children written by Ewing, aimed at teaching tolerance and acceptance, and it's never too soon to learn such things. Young children in particular are far more accepting than so-called grown-ups when it comes to those who might be perceived as different, and it's only to the good to bolster those non-discriminatory perceptions. From A for ability through D for difference and E for equality, through I for immigration and J for justice to T for transgender and Y for 'Yes!', this book covers it all. I commend it as a worthy read for young children.


Experiment with Kitchen Science by Nick Arnold


Rating: WORTHY!

From an advance review copy for which I thank the publisher.

What kid doesn't like to mess it up in the kitchen? This book facilitates all of that, but with a purpose: that of learning some science (and making some sweet treats along the way). We learn how to make butter, how to make a non-Newtonian fluid - which is a lot more fun than it sounds. We lean about fat and protein, starch and cellulose, swelling jellies, and how to mix oil and water!

We learn about specific gravity, air pressure, and surface tension, making beautiful paintings using milk, dishwashing liquid and food coloring, and also about colored foam and giant green eggs! The lesson on bicarbonate of soda and volcanoes makes some crunchy sweet treats, but note that not everything that results from these scientific forays ends up being edible! Educational it is, though. There will definitely need to be a lesson about brushing teeth properly after that one.

Throughout the book there are safety warnings and copious advice on when adults should step in and help out. I think this was a smart, fun, safe, entertaining, and very educational book, and I commend it fully.


One More Time by Nancy Loewen, Hazel Michelle Quintanilla


Rating: WORTHY!

From an advance review copy for which I thank the publisher.

I had two bad starts with this writing/illustrating team due to technical problems with the books, but I had no such problem with this particular title, which was much better.

When a young boy gets a new scooter for his birthday, he naturally wants to ride it at once, but he can't - he keeps falling off! Well, the answer to that is perseverance and with some help from grandpa and his own mettle, the kid learns that practice makes perfect. A nicely-illustrated and fun story about sticking to it.


A Little Bit Different by Claire Alexander


Rating: WORTHY!

From an advance review copy for which I thank the publisher.

Where would we be without individuals and personalities? This is a fun, short and cutely-illustrated book for young children about the joy of being an individual.

Among the ploofs, Shoof is definitely an individual, but at first, Shoof is shunned. It's only when minds are opened and individuality is finally appreciated, that Shoof finds a place in this world. Whether Shoof's friend's talents will be appreciated is another matter! I commend this as a worthy read for young children.


Saturday, August 31, 2019

The Water Cycle by Anita Ganeri, Chris Oxlade, Pau Morgan


Rating: WORTHY!

This is from an advance review copy for which I thank the publisher.

Erratum:
In the back of the book, in a section labeled 'Notes for Teachers and Parents', I read in the second paragraph "How do the children think this might have effected the city?" which should have employed 'affected' rather than 'effected'. I'd recommend changing that before any teachers read it! It's much more effective, and not an affectation!

This was an amusingly-illustrated (by Morgan) and informatively-written (by Ganeri and Oxlade) book which discusses the water cycle, without which Earth would be a desert The book discusses, sometimes a bit repetitively, but repetition helps recollection, how water from the oceans evaporates and later precipitates over land as fresh water, which nourishes the soil and eventually flows back to the ocean via rivers, thereby completing the cycle.

The water cycle is a critical part of everyone's need for water, and access is becoming more stressed as the climate change grows worse and the rains come too harshly or not at all, and changing snowfall patterns leave less water to return to the rivers and ocean in spring. Lack of access to sufficient clean fresh water is looming as the number one crisis on our planet. As spoiled Americans each splash through 300 gallons a day in average, the poorer residents of, say, Chennai, in India, which is undergoing an appalling drought in 2019, have less than eight gallons per person per day.

Ava and George the 'geo-detectives' are our guides in this story, and are well-informed. Taking trips on boats and via airplane and even a parachute, and traveling from beach to mountain, they explore not only the cycle, but how water is abused and polluted. Until recently, Cape Town in South Africa was facing a zero water day in the near future: a day when there would be no fresh water for the city's population to use. This scared people so much that they began a serious conservation effort, and now they have put off zero day indefinitely.

There are eleven other major cities across the globe: Bangalore, Beijing, Cairo, Istanbul, Jakarta, London, Mexico, Miami, Moscow, São Paulo, and Tokyo which will face this crisis as well in the very near future if something isn't done - if water isn't valued as highly as it ought to be. This will occur during the lifetime of the children who might read this book, so any effort to educate them as to the vital importance of water is to be commended. This book as a worthy effort in that direction.


Kind Mr Bear by Steve Smallman


Rating: WORTHY!

This is from an advance review copy for which I thank the publisher.

This is a very short book, illustrated by the author, about a kindly old bear who helps everyone in the forest. He helps recover a kite from a tree(that is, a toy kite, not a bird of the same name!), lift heavy things, and shelter the tiny denizens of the forest from surprise rainstorms. People take Mr Bear for granted until he's not there any more. When he's sick is when people miss him, and finally it dawns on those forest folk that maybe Mr Bear could use some help.

The book was wonderfully-illustrated and the story poignantly told, and I commend it as a worthy read. The only oddity is that in a section in the back, title Next Steps, the discussion topics weren't about Mr Bear, but about Percy and Posy the penguins. I suspect this was put in there as a place-holder for a new discussion page to be written for this particular book, and that has not yet been added since this is an advance review copy. Presumably that will be fixed before the final version is published!


The Red Suitcase by Gilles Baum, Amandine Piu


Rating: WARTY!

This is from an advance review copy for which I thank the publisher.

I was very disappointed in this. Clearly it was designed as a print book, and I'm not the sort of reviewer who is privileged enough to get those, so I get only the ebook. Usually that's enough to evaluate a book for the most part, but in some cases, particularly with children's books, it's inadequate. In other cases - like this one - it's impossible.

The problem was that the PDF version I got frequently got stuck and would not swipe past a certain page without great and persistent swiping efforts. I've encountered books like this before, but they are not common, and what it is exactly which causes it, I do not know. I tried this in both Adobe Digital Editions, and in Bluefire Reader, both of which are excellent ebook readers for the most part, and both of them had the same problems with this book, and on the same pages, too. On occasion, it locked up the reader and crashed it, which is a huge no-no.

The first page to stick was the title page. If you swipe very v-e-r-y slowly, i.e. leave many seconds between arriving at a page and swiping to the next one, it works better, but at any reasonable swiping rate, it sticks. You definitely cannot skim over several pages to quickly get to a specific page, and when it sticks, even tapping on the screen will not bring up the slide bar to navigate quickly. When you finally get the navigation bar and move the little slider along, it takes several seconds to respond and change pages. Sometimes after a swipe I would count slowly from one to twenty before the page would indicate it was ready to move. I had downloaded several children's book from Net Galley for review along with this one, and this was the only one of them which I had this kind of trouble with.

My second problem with this is even more serious and it is that, while I get that this book is minimalist, having merely the outline of the red suitcase - and not even a complete outline on over twenty pages - was too much. or rather, far too little. The book struck me as lazy and even cynical, which went completely counter to the message the book was supposed to be purveying - that of perseverance. This book taught me far more about irritation than ever it did about its stated topic. I lost patience with it repeatedly, and I cannot commend it at all.


Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Tootle by Gertrude Crampton, Tennant Redbank, Sue DiCiccio


Rating: WARTY!

This story - at one time the third best-selling hardback children's book in the English language - was originally written (in 1945) by Gertrude Crampton and illustrated by Hungarian artist Tibor Gergely. neither get credit here. Those who do get credit get no copyright. The copyright goes to the publisher. Highly suspicious. I'm not sure why Big Publishing™ decided this needed to be adapted by Redbank and re-illustrated by DiCiccio, but while the illustrations were sweet and colorful, I'm not sure about the message this book conveys to modern children. That message is "Most of all? Stay on the rails no matter what!"

That sounds far too much like "stay in your lane." Do we really want kids to be told that they have to follow the same track as everyone else? Maybe back in 1945 there was a culture that saw nothing wrong with offering advice akin to 'children should be seen and not heard', but in the twenty-first century, I don't want my kids to be told they can't go off piste. I never have told them that.

There's a different between going off the rails in a maniacal way, but that's not what's meant here. Tootle is trying to cut his own path - and admittedly he's forgetting his goal for the day, but he's also having fun, and finding out new things that he would never learn were he to rigidly follow those rails. As long as they were re-doing this anyway, a better story would have been to have him complete his task for the day, and then to sneak off the rails after hours and go do his own thing. A book like that, I could have got with.

I know there's a lot been said lately about staying in lanes - a lot of misogynistic crap included - but not all of the commentary on that has been well thought-through. I read an article titled "Gender Norms: The Problem With The 'Stay in Your Lane' Phenemenon," written by by Kourtney Kell where she actually wrote: "Was it because I thought I was going to get hit on? No, I wasn't even wearing makeup." This suggests to me that Kell seems to think she's ugly - or at least unattractive - without make-up. What? Talk about staying in your lane! I quit reading that article right there.

But the bottom line is that while there are certain societal conventions that are broken at one's peril, there is a serious problem with restricting children too much and trying to fit them into a certain box rather than let them choose the box - if any, they'd really like to get into. I know this book was simply intended as a fun young children's book, perhaps even intended as a lesson about following rules, but to me, in this day and age, it's far too contrtricting and I can't commend it as a worthy read.


Lulu-Grenadine Fait des Cauchemars by Laurence Gillot


Rating: WORTHY!

Continuing the international theme from the last review, There is over 20 Lulu-Grenadine books for children written by this slightly crazed-looking female author. This is the first I ever encountered her, and it was appropriately in French. I have only high-school French and most of that is forgotten, but I had enough to guess at what was being said and it was entertaining. I didn't know the word 'Cauchemars' but it became obvious that it means nightmare, of which a literal translation from English would be jument de nuit, except that the 'mare' in nightmare has nothing to do with a female horse, but is derived from an ancient European word related to oppressive feelings. So no more horses of the night! LOL! I have no idea what cauchemar actually means if translated literally.

In the story, this young girl, Lulu-Grenadine (that latter word meaning pomegranate) has a nightmare of little white dark-eyed ghosties floating around in her room, but eventually realizes they're nothing but her wild imagination. The book is entertaining and educational, usefully advising children that there really aren't any ghosts, and that an active imagination can be put to better uses than keeping you awake at night! I commend this book even though it needs no mending, except to maybe have it in the English version for better clarity for us English-speakers!


The Hole by Øyvind Torseter


Rating: WORTHY!

This was a highly amusing children's book written and illustrated by a Norwegian writer (don't worry - it's translated into English by Kari Dickson). The first name is pronounced a bit like Irvin with a 'd' on the end. Quite literally the central theme of the book is that it has a hole right through it, cover to cover. The hole takes part in the story. When this guy moves into a new apartment and discovers the hole in his wall, he also discovers that as he moves around, so does the hole! Eventually he manages to capture it in a box and take it to a research lab where they conduct various experiments on it - determined to find the hole truth no doubt.

On each page of this large format book, the hole appears in different locales. It's a lightbulb on one page, a traffic light on another, someone's eye in another, someone's nostril in another, and so it goes. How they ever managed to match the hole so well to the drawings in putting together this book I can only guess, but it was well done and the book was very entertaining. I don't know what a child will make of it, but hopefully they will be at least as fascinated with it as I was!

I commend this book as a worthy read.


Sunday, August 11, 2019

Math Games for Kids by Rebecca Rapoport, JA Yoder


Rating: WORTHY!

This is from an advance review copy for which I thank the publisher.

Telling a kid that the book you're gifting them has some forty pages of math might well make the kid turn and run the other way. Is math fun? Well that depends how it's done. If you lead with the idea of building 3-D shapes using toothpicks and...gumdrops, then you might get the kid's attention, and that's how this book starts out!

Not all kids are math averse, of course. Some do love it already, but for many, if they're at all like me (and hopefully they're not!), then math might seem daunting rather than haunting. The first thing you should know is that this isn't really about working with numbers, but about working with shapes and patterns, and reading this made me wonder if maybe our approach to math ought to include topics like these early - bring math to your kid as fun and games and maybe when the tougher and more numerically-oriented materials inevitably crop up, they'll be less inclined to run? I know I would have been.

Colorfully- and simply-illustrated and full of fun topics laid out intelligently and attractively, this book begins with creating shapes using toothpicks for the edges and gumdrops for the vertices, teaching about prisms and pyramids, but before your child becomes completely imprismed, the book moves on to drawing circles and ellipses, including how to create a giant one in the playground. Next up is topology and Möbius strips, which might sound scandalous to some but it really isn't, because Möbius knows where to draw the line.

This is followed by a little bit of geography and a lot of four-color maps, and then stitching curves (which commendably shows both boys and girls at work) followed by fractals. And trust me if you understand only a part of the fractal section you've got it all. Snowflakes and graph theory lead to Eulerian circuits and a trip to Königsberg which now has a much less appealing name I'm afraid to say. No! I'm not afraid to say it. I will say it! It's Kaliningrad! There, I said it!

All the solutions to the various puzzles are included toward the back of the book along with an index. I liked this book, and consider it very useful and effective way to introduce young children to math. I commend it as a worthy read.


Friday, August 9, 2019

The Animal Awards by Martin Jenkins, Tor Freeman


Rating: WORTHY!

This is from an advance review copy for which I thank the publisher.

Written by Jenkins and illustrated by Freeman, this is a fun and educational book about animal world record holders. Some of the records are less to be desired than others, but are nonetheless interesting. The book covers axolotls to vampire bats, and scores of others in between, but it features only those who are outstanding in one way or another - and their closest competitors. It might be that they live longest - like an estimated 400 years for a Greenland shark! - or that they are the fastest on land - like the cheetah, or the fastest in the air, like the peregrine falcon.

Maybe they have the goofiest mating dance, or can make the loudest noise (from one of the smallest animals, too!). Maybe they dive deeper or travel further, or have the most boring diet. Whatever it is, they're very likely in here. The record holders are not always cute and cuddly-looking mammals either. They could be vertebrates or non-vertebrates, fish, molluscs, birds, insects, mammals, amphibians. They could live anywhere on land or sea, or in the air. They could live in the hot or the cold, the jungle or the plains. But they're out there, and this books tells you what's special about them, and with enough text to educate, without lecturing, and with colorful and useful illustrations.

We puff ourselves up with human achievements, and often forget that these animals were first in the field (and elsewhere!). I commend this as a worthy read.


Portrait of an Artist: Frida Kahlo by Lucy Brownridge, Sandra Dieckmann


Rating: WORTHY!

This is from an advance review copy for which I thank the publisher.

I've been intrigued by, nay, in love with Frida Kahlo ever since I first heard of her. She's something of an enigma. I'm a lot more a fan of hers than I am of her art as it happens - not that there's anything wrong with her art. I find her work evocative, and some of her most moving paintings are featured here as modest reproductions. Many of her works are like mini biographies - the equivalent of what today, with always-on instant communication, are called 'status updates'. She went through two different hells as a child and a teenager: first suffering polio, and then a pelvis-breaking tram accident which left her in pain for the rest of her life.

This didn't stop her from painting and painting and painting. In fact one could argue that the accident, which left her in bed for some time, unable to do anything much other than read and paint using a special easel her father made for her, triggered her advance into art. Her meeting renowned painter Diego Rivera gave her another push. He liked her work and liked her and eventually they married, but the marriage wasn't always a happy one. This book wisely doesn't go into that. While it does talk of her polio and the accident, it otherwise paints a rosy picture of her too-brief life, written in short, clear bursts and eminently suitable for a younger child to read. Kudos to Lucy Brownridge for getting it right.

And talking of art, Sandra Dieckmann paints us a fine visual picture on every page: colorful and playful, serious but not staid, and very endearing. I already knew lots about the artist (Kahlo, not Dieckmann!) having read at least four other books, including children's books about her, or about art that mention her, yet I still found this one engaging, fresh, and entertaining, and I commend it as a worthy read. Let Frida Ring!