IN DADDY'S ARMS I AM TALL

AFRICAN AMERICANS CELEBRATING FATHERS

Steptoe (son of the late John Steptoe) creates art for 13 poems that honor fathers, e.g., Sonia Sanchez's ``I have looked into/my father's eyes and seen an/african sunset.'' Among others who have contributed to the volume are Folami Abiade (with the title poem), Lenard D. Moore, Dakari Hru, and Dinah Johnson. At times, elements of the poets' subject matter are depicted—photographed pennies are the background for the portrait of one father. Some poems are better than others; some are more message than art, although all of them are appealing. A particularly memorable sentiment is found in Davida Adedjouma's ``Artist to Artist,'' in which a woman appreciates that her artist father sorted mail ``all night and into the day'' for the family, and passed on to her the ``urge to create/characters with meat on their bones, in flesh-colored tones written in words as vivid'' as her crayon-box colors. Each piece elicits a work of art that translates beautifully to the printed page, from the jacket's gallery of small paintings to the half-title's portrait of a family—with smudged limbs and torsos, and heads made from painted discs or buttons—framed by colorful wooden beads. Brief biographies of the contributors appear in the back of this inventive, evocative book. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1997

ISBN: 1-880000-31-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Lee & Low Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1997

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Fun but earnest, this rhyming romp reminds readers that one young person can make a difference.

SOFIA VALDEZ, FUTURE PREZ

From the Questioneers series

Sofia Valdez proves that community organizers of any age can have a positive impact.

After a trash-heap eyesore causes an injury to her beloved abuelo, Sofia springs into action to bring big change to her neighborhood. The simple rhymes of the text follow Sofia on her journey from problem through ideas to action as she garners community support for an idyllic new park to replace the dangerous junk pile. When bureaucracy threatens to quash Sofia’s nascent plan, she digs deep and reflects that “being brave means doing the thing you must do, / though your heart cracks with fear. / Though you’re just in Grade Two.” Sofia’s courage yields big results and inspires those around her to lend a hand. Implied Latinx, Sofia and her abuelo have medium brown skin, and Sofia has straight brown hair (Abuelo is bald). Readers will recognize Iggy Peck, Rosie Revere, and Ada Twist from Beaty’s previous installments in the Questioneers series making cameo appearances in several scenes. While the story connects back to the title and her aptitude for the presidency in only the second-to-last sentence of the book, Sofia’s leadership and grit are themes throughout. Roberts’ signature illustration style lends a sense of whimsy; detailed drawings will have readers scouring each page for interesting minutiae.

Fun but earnest, this rhyming romp reminds readers that one young person can make a difference. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3704-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

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THE BEST STORY

What makes the best story? That’s the question Anne finds herself asking her family when she sets out to win a writing contest but discovers that “this writing stuff [is] hard and lonely.” In turns, her brother tells her to put in lots of action, her father advises comedy, her aunt instructs her to make it sad and her cousin says that “if it’s not romantic it’s a loser.” Anne revises her tale to adapt each time, resulting in a hodgepodge of rogue plot elements. Wilsdorf’s gleeful cartoons make the most of their opportunities: A monkey weeps at the funeral of his pet goldfish in one iteration, then dances at his wedding to the pirate’s sister in the next. What’s a budding author to do? With a little sound counsel from her mother, Anne writes what she knows, from her heart. “Maybe I’ll win … and maybe I won’t. Either way, I’ll be happy…. Because the story I wrote is my own.… And that makes it the best.” (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: May 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3055-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2008

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