Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Picture Books Tell Great Tales
Thanks to Alyson Beecher's Non-Fiction Picture Book Challenge at Kidlit Frenzy, everyone shares wonderful non-fiction picture books.
A little late posting, but wanted to share these two books, one just out, one a few years old, but am so glad to have read it! History is filled with interesting and poignant stories and we are lucky to have them told in beautiful picture books!
The Wildest Race Ever, The Story of the 1904 Olympic Marathon - Meghan McCarthy
After reading this story, I am amazed that anyone achieved the finish of this first Olympic Marathon. The temperature was 90 degrees in humid St. Louis, Missouri. the roads were dirt, and dusty. And people followed the runners in their cars, raising dust clouds so bad that runners could not see ahead and struggled breaking. Some runners immediately fell apart; one began vomiting. Another was chased by an angry dog, ran a mile out of the way, and still finished! One runner was refused water and given doses of strychnine, thought to help his strength! One runner ran in his work shoes and long pants. What a story of a race that no one seemed to understand. Many had run marathons, yet this particular race seemed to be filled with smaller mishaps, ones no one predicted. Meghan McCathy tells the story as runners run, illustrating the pages with cartoon-like drawings of both the runners and the spectators set amidst the scenes of dust and turmoil. There is additional information and a timeline at the back. The end pages are filled with wonderful postcards sent from the World's Fair.
Belle, the Last Mule at Gee's Bend, A Civil Rights Story - Calvin Alexander Ramsey, Bettye Stroud and John Holyfield
A young boy, Alex, sits outside a store in Gee's Bend, told to wait for his mother. He watches a mule across the way eating collards from a garden. An older woman joins him, introduces herself as Miz Pettway, and begins to tell the story of why that particular mule deserves all the collards he wishes. Thus begins the story of Belle, one of the mules who carried the casket of Dr. King at his funeral. And the story of a lot more through the eyes of those who lived at Gee's Bend and toiled under the strong laws against African-Americans. It tells of Dr. King's visit, and the strength he gave them all to register, then vote. It tells of the terrible loss of jobs after voting, from which came the famous quilts created by the women of Gee's Bend, now coveted the world over, and displayed in museums. There is much to learn from this simple tale of a mule. John Holyfield's illustrations show the joys and struggles both in the faces and scenes he chose to paint. Alex, that young boy, finally understands why Belle gets all those collard greens.