Review: Florence Nightingale by Demi

florence nightingale

Florence Nightingale by Demi

This picture book biography shines thanks to its rich artwork.  It tells the story of Florence Nightingale’s life beginning with her wealthy childhood in England.  Florence’s mother was known for her parties, but Florence liked to spend time by herself and even as a child pretended that her dolls were sick and needed to be in a doll hospital.  Florence traveled in Europe as a teenager and realized that she was called to help people.  Her parents were dismayed when she declared that she wanted to be a nurse.  Then later Florence got a chance to help in an orphanage and her parents allowed her to choose her own way.  Florence excelled at organization, documentation and hygiene.  She transformed the different places she worked at, eventually going to Turkey to help the soldiers during the Crimean War.  Florence grew ill later in her life, but never stopped working on improving nursing and patient care around the world.  She was an inspiration for many both as a nurse and a woman. 

Demi writes with depth and detail in this biography.  She paints a clear picture of Nightingale from childhood through her development as a nurse and finally as a world-renowned expert in nursing.  It was fascinating to learn of Nightingale’s wealthy background and her unwillingness to turn her back on her calling. 

Demi’s art is as rich as ever with her saturated colors that give way to other pages with rich yet delicate texture.  Nightingale appears wearing her deep blue dress that somehow shines on the page even though it is often the darkest color there.  Ones eye just travels straight to her and the heart of the story.

Rich and detailed, this is a winning picture book biography to introduce children to a major female figure from history.  Appropriate for ages 6-9.

Reviewed from copy received from Henry Holt and Co.

Review: Peek-a-Boo Bunny by Holly Surplice

peek a book bunny

Peek-a-Boo Bunny by Holly Surplice

Bunny and his friends are playing their favorite game, Hide-and-Seek!  Bunny gets to seek first and all of his friends hide.  He counts to ten.  Then he bounces and rushes around, moving way too fast to notice the others hiding.  As Bunny races from one page to the next, another friend is revealed in their hiding place on each page, making it a real game of hide-and-seek for the reader.  Eventually, Bunny does slow down, but he still can’t find the hidden animals.  Bunny sits down under a tree, saddened by not finding any of his friends.  But don’t worry, they can find him!

A jolly picture book where the game is made real for the reader, Surplice infuses her book with humor but also with a gentleness toward Bunny too.  The story itself is simple and linear, offering space for the illustrations to carry the full story for the reader.

The illustrations are lovely.  They offer collages of cut paper grasses and flowers in a rainbow of colors that pop against the pastel backgrounds.  Bunny and his friends all pop out as well with their firm lines dark against the flowing colors of the forest. 

A sparkling spring pick, this book is great for preschoolers and toddlers.  I could see it making a great board book too.  Appropriate for ages 1-4.

Reviewed from library copy.