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News & Reviews

What William Morris Made

A TRUE TALE WITH

A CHERRY ON TOP


Cameron Kids

(Abrams)

(pub. 4.5.22) pages

Author: Beth Kephart

Illustrator: Melodie Stacey

Character: William Morris

Overview: "William Morris is best known for his colorful wallpapers and textiles, inspired by the English forests and wild foliage where he grew up. But did you know this icon of the Arts and Crafts Movement was also a poet, a painter, a preservationist, an activist, an environmentalist, and a maker of many other beautiful useful things, like books?"

Tantalizing taste:

" Every one thing was part of another something –

the leaf, a part of the stem;

the bird, a part of the song;

the garden, a part of the house;

the house, a place for people to love and to live,

to meet and to think.


It takes a long time for a tree to become a tree,

for a vine to twine,

for a flower to bloom

for a thread to become a tapestry.


The older William grew,

and the more he saw,

the more he wanted

to honor beauty

by making beautiful things."


And something more: Melodie Stacy in the Illustrator's Note, explains that "I have long admired William Morris, not only as a designer and maker, but as a person. I've admired his artistic vision, his love of beauty in all things, but also his philanthropy and his fight for better working conditions and pay for his employees... In illustrating this book I was inspired both by his designs and the way he seemed to recall patterns in nature from my childhood in the East Anglian countryside surrounded by woods and a wealth of wildflowers, but also his love of collaboration and the importance of family and friendship."


A Life of Edwin Hubble

A TRUE TALE WITH

A CHERRY ON TOP


Enchanted Lion Books

(pub.1.19.2021) 52 pages

Author: Isabelle Marinov

Illustrator: Deborah Marcero

Character: Edwin Hubble

Overview:

"This is the story of Edwin Hubble, a boy fascinated by the stars who surmounted many hurdles to follow his dreams of becoming an astronomer. Using the insights of great mathematicians and endlessly observing the sky, he succeeded in confirming two things that altered human life forever: that there are more galaxies than our own, and that the universe is always expanding. Hubble’s message to us is to find peace in the vastness of the mystery surrounding us, and to be curious. “We do now know why we are born into the world,” he said, “but we can try to find out what sort of world it is.”

Tantalizing taste:

" Thinking,

Wondering.

Measuring.

Calculating.


On some days, his fingers and toes grew numb and tears froze his eyelashes to the telescope's eyepiece. but nothing could lure him back inside.


And then, in 1923, he found what he had been looking for.


Inside the Andromeda nebula, Edwin discovered a pulsating star that brightened and dimmed like a lighthouse beacon. He was able to measure the distance between Andromeda's blinking star and the Earth because of the incredible work of Henrietta Swan Leavitt, a brilliant astronomer at the Harvard Observatory...


The measurements told Edwin that the star was very, very far away. So far that it couldn't possibly be within our galaxy."


And something more: Isabelle Marinov, in the Author's Note, writes: "...Hubble redefined our place in the cosmos. Why hadn't I known this? Why do we know so much about Napoleon and other military figures, and so little about the man who discovered that the universe is so much bigger than anyone ever imagined?... And the universe is constantly expanding ...


Our universe may not be the only one. We could be part of a multiverse of co-existing universes.


It is this cosmic perspective that I've tried to convey through Edwin's story, a perspective that is lost on so many of our world's leaders. Planet Earth is nothing more than an infinitesimal fraction of a mote of dust in the vast cosmic tapestry. Maybe one day, this realization will help us overcome our narrowness of perspective, which lies at the root of so many of our earthly problems."

A TRUE TALE WITH

A CHERRY ON TOP

A Paul Wiseman Book

Simon & Schuster

(pub. 1.18.22) 48 pages

Author: Diane Stanley

Illustrator: Jessie Hartland

Character: Alice Waters

Overview:

"Whenever young Alice Waters tasted something delicious, like the sun-warmed berries from her family’s garden or a crisp, ripe apple picked straight from the tree, she would remember it for the rest of her life. Later, as she tasted many more wonderful foods, she realized what made them so good—they were fresh and ripe, grown or made the old-fashioned way.


When Alice grew up, she opened a restaurant called Chez Panisse. As part of her quest to make delicious food, Alice sought out small, local farmers to provide the meat, dairy, and produce. The restaurant made her famous, but it did much more than that—it started a food revolution. Today, home cooks and chefs alike are all discovering the simple secret to the Best! Food! Ever! This book is a celebration of food, cooking, and the woman whose curiosity and devotion to flavor kickstarted America’s interest in buying local, organic food."

Tantalizing taste:


" She makes fancy French dinners for her friends. They sit around her table for hours, the way French people do, enjoying the food, friendship, and conversation.


Alice graduates from college with no plan for what to do next. Her favorite thing is French cooking, but that's not a job. It would be if she owned a restaurant, but she doesn't have the money or the experience. So instead, she works at this and that. None of it feels right.


One day she sees an old house for sale. It's kind of a mess, but she could fix it up. And it would be the perfect place for a restaurant. Like a French grandmother's house - warm and comfortable, with flowers on the tables, soft light streaming through the windows, wonderful smells drifting out of the kitchen."


And something more: The discussion of Alice and Her Delicious Revolution, at the back of the book, explains that "she used her fame to start a national conversation that quickly spread and continues to this day. Thanks to Alice Waters, more and more people are planting gardens and visiting farmers markets, enjoying food that's fresh, local, organic, healthy, and delicious. Food grown in a way that enriches the earth instead of depleting and polluting it. Food cooked and eaten at home, once again bringing families together around a table." Yes, bravo to Alice Waters and to her wonderful Chez Panisse at which I've had the good fortune to dine on many occasions. Delightful and delicious!

Where to find Jeanne Walker Harvey books

Jeanne has reviewed over 170 picture book biographies here and

previously on her blog  titled  TRUE TALES

& A CHERRY ON TOP.