Cynthia K. Ritter

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Review of The Only Woman in the Photo: Frances Perkins & Her New Deal for America

The Only Woman in the Photo: Frances Perkins & Her New Deal for America by Kathleen Krull; illus. by Alexandra Bye Primary, Intermediate    Atheneum    48 pp. 2/20    978-1-4814-9151-8    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-9152-5    $10.99 President Roosevelt usually gets credit for the New Deal programs that helped pull America out of the...

Mother forking space and time

The neighborhood that the four main characters of NBC's The Good Place resided in was rebooted over 800 times by the demon Michael. Every time one of the characters would figure out that they were actually in The Bad Place, Michael would wipe their memories and start over. The "series...

Sense of place

As in King and the Dragonflies, setting is a key part of these recent intermediate and middle-school realistic stories. In Some Places More than Others, Amara's twelfth birthday trip with her dad becomes a whirlwind of highs and lows as she's introduced to the rich history of African Americans in...

Harry for the holidays

Shoshana Flax: Old Potter fans never die, they just sit down at the Yule Ball.  Cindy and I spent the evening of Sunday, December 15th at the Middle East nightclub in Cambridge for the Boston edition of Harry and the Potters’ Yule Ball. (The Black Cat in Washington, DC, and...

Review of Home in the Woods

Home in the Woods by Eliza Wheeler; illus. by the author Primary    Paulsen/Penguin    40 pp.    g 10/19    978-0-399-16290-9    $17.99 When six-year-old Marvel, her seven siblings, and their newly widowed mother are forced to leave their farm and move into an abandoned tar-paper shack deep in the woods, it “doesn’t seem...

Review of Born to Draw Comics: The Story of Charles Schulz and the Creation of Peanuts

Born to Draw Comics: The Story of Charles Schulz and the Creation of Peanuts by Ginger Wadsworth; illus. by Craig Orback Primary    Ottaviano/Holt    40 pp. 9/19    978-1-250-17373-7    $18.99 From the time he was born, Charles Schulz’s (1922–2000) name was connected to comic strips, thanks to his uncle nicknaming him “Sparky”...

Contemplative seasonal picture books

The following picture books explore the warmth of relationships in seasonal settings. In Sydney Smith's Small in the City, an intrepid child on the move in the big, wintry city speaks directly to an unknown someone, dispensing advice and encouragement. With full-bleed spreads juxtaposed with ones featuring small vignettes, Smith...

Review of Queen of the Sea

Queen of the Sea by Dylan Meconis; illus. by the author Middle School    Walker U.S./Candlewick    396 pp. 5/19    978-1-5362-0498-8    $24.99 In a graphic novel loosely inspired by sixteenth-century British history “during the reigns of King Henry VIII and his daughters, Queen Mary I and Queen Elizabeth I,” young Margaret has...

A Spooky Surprise

Happy Halloween! To help myself get into the festive holiday spirit on a recent trip to New York's picturesque Hudson Valley for a friend's wedding, I embraced the local literary love for a certain spooky tale: Washington Irving's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow." The scene was set listening to the...

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