WILLIE JEROME

Young Willie Jerome is up on the roof of a Harlem tenement blowing his horn. The trills and riffs are sweet music to his sister Judy's ears, but no one else in the neighborhood is moved: not the grocer, not the stoop sitters, not his brother, and especially not his mother. Narrator Judy bebops to the melody; she tries to convince others to give his hot rooftop jazz a chance, but all they hear is a lot of noise. Finally the girl coaxes her mother to close her eyes and open her soul to the music (a sentimental, adult idea, perhaps, but Judy's demonstrated sensitivity brings substance to her words). Willie Jerome doesn't let them down. Duncan's sharp, laconic text is appealingly cadenced—a smart prose poem where every word has a purpose: ``I been groovin' to his noonday songs. That's why I got this smile on my face. That's why I got this bop in my stride.'' It's the language of the city, and so too are the voluptuous, moody oil paintings. The artwork pulls readers right in. Here are palpable urban tableaux: readers will feel summer's lazy drift, sense the heat rising off the sidewalk. Judy's pleasure in the music is evident in every gesture; in the depictions of Willie Jerome, his obsession becomes a triumph—and he becomes heroic. A fine tribute to going one's own way. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-02-733208-X

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1995

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

This story covers the few days preceding the much-anticipated Midnight Zombie Walk, when Stink and company will take to the...

STINK AND THE MIDNIGHT ZOMBIE WALK

From the Stink series

An all-zombie-all-the-time zombiefest, featuring a bunch of grade-school kids, including protagonist Stink and his happy comrades.

This story covers the few days preceding the much-anticipated Midnight Zombie Walk, when Stink and company will take to the streets in the time-honored stiff-armed, stiff-legged fashion. McDonald signals her intent on page one: “Stink and Webster were playing Attack of the Knitting Needle Zombies when Fred Zombie’s eye fell off and rolled across the floor.” The farce is as broad as the Atlantic, with enough spookiness just below the surface to provide the all-important shivers. Accompanied by Reynolds’ drawings—dozens of scene-setting gems with good, creepy living dead—McDonald shapes chapters around zombie motifs: making zombie costumes, eating zombie fare at school, reading zombie books each other to reach the one-million-minutes-of-reading challenge. When the zombie walk happens, it delivers solid zombie awfulness. McDonald’s feel-good tone is deeply encouraging for readers to get up and do this for themselves because it looks like so much darned fun, while the sub-message—that reading grows “strong hearts and minds,” as well as teeth and bones—is enough of a vital interest to the story line to be taken at face value.

Pub Date: March 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5692-8

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

BUBBA, THE COWBOY PRINCE

A FRACTURED TEXAS TALE

A Cinderella parody features the off-the-wall, whang-dang Texas hyperbole of Ketteman (The Year of No More Corn, 1993, etc.) and the insouciance of Warhola, who proves himself only too capable of creating a fairy godcow; that she's so appealingly whimsical makes it easy to accept the classic tale's inversions. The protagonist is Bubba, appropriately downtrodden and overworked by his wicked stepdaddy and loathsome brothers Dwayne and Milton, who spend their days bossing him around. The other half of the happy couple is Miz Lurleen, who owns ``the biggest spread west of the Brazos.'' She craves male companionship to help her work the place, ``and it wouldn't hurt if he was cute as a cow's ear, either.'' There are no surprises in this version except in the hilarious way the premise plays itself out and in Warhola's delightful visual surprises. When Lurleen tracks the bootless Bubba down, ``Dwayne and Milton and their wicked daddy threw chicken fits.'' Bubba and babe, hair as big as a Texas sun, ride off to a life of happy ranching, and readers will be proud to have been along for the courtship. (Picture book/folklore. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-590-25506-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1997

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more