An overworked metaphor may yet manage to inspire.

THE DREAM KEEPERS

In the Land of Dreams, Dream Keepers wait to help wishes and dreams do what they need to do to come true.

Wishes and dreams (used interchangeably) start in Inspiration Lake. When they come true, they end up in the sky as stars. Sometimes, wishes are easy to launch into the sky. But sometimes, reaching the sky requires traversing the rocky terrain of Challenge Mountain. For this reason, each dream (depicted as a smiling star) is assigned two Dream Keepers (depicted as blue beings in onesies) to help it successfully complete its journey. One Dream Keeper is in charge of Happy Thoughts, while the other is in charge of Hard Work. No matter how difficult the journey, dreams begin on the Path of Purpose and take things one step at a time. Dream Keepers help the dream move past distractions and to wade through the Swamp of Discovery, where all kinds of surprises await. Still, despite this care and attention, not every dream will make it: Many end up in the land of Lost Dreams instead of the sky. But no matter how far you get with your dream or your wish, the Dream Keepers make sure to celebrate your progress. This whimsically illustrated picture book is written in a colloquial voice that addresses readers with warmth and sincerity. While the complexity of the metaphor can be difficult to follow—and, at times, feels like it gets in the way of the story—the inspirational message shines through warmly.

An overworked metaphor may yet manage to inspire. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 17, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-57687-987-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: POW!

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

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A straightforward, effective approach to helping children cope with one of life’s commonplace yet emotionally fraught...

WHAT DO YOU DO WITH A PROBLEM?

A child struggles with the worry and anxiety that come with an unexpected problem.

In a wonderful balance of text and pictures, the team responsible for What Do You Do With an Idea (2014) returns with another book inspiring children to feel good about themselves. A child frets about a problem that won’t go away: “I wished it would just disappear. I tried everything I could to hide from it. I even found ways to disguise myself. But it still found me.” The spare, direct narrative is accompanied by soft gray illustrations in pencil and watercolor. The sepia-toned figure of the child is set apart from the background and surrounded by lots of white space, visually isolating the problem, which is depicted as a purple storm cloud looming overhead. Color is added bit by bit as the storm cloud grows and its color becomes more saturated. With a backpack and umbrella, the child tries to escape the problem while the storm swirls, awash with compass points scattered across the pages. The pages brighten into splashes of yellow as the child decides to tackle the problem head-on and finds that it holds promise for unlooked-for opportunity.

A straightforward, effective approach to helping children cope with one of life’s commonplace yet emotionally fraught situations, this belongs on the shelf alongside Molly Bang’s Sophie books. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-943-20000-9

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2016

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This simple and sincere tale of working up courage to face fears makes quite a splash.

JABARI JUMPS

Young Jabari decides today is the day he is going to jump from the diving board, even though it’s a little high and a little scary.

Jabari’s father and baby sister accompany him to the swimming pool in the city, where Jabari has already made up his mind about today’s goal: jumping off the diving board. “I’m a great jumper,” he says, “so I’m not scared at all.” But that’s not entirely true. Readers see Jabari play the waiting game as the other children (a diverse bunch) make their ways past him in line. Once Jabari finally begins to climb up, he slyly remembers that he forgot to “stretch.” The stalling techniques don’t faze his dad, who sees an opportunity for a life lesson. “It’s okay to feel a little scared,” offers his dad at the side of the pool. With renewed will, Jabari returns to the towering diving board, ready to embrace the feat. In her debut, Cornwall places her loving black family at the center, coloring the swimming pool and park beyond in minty hues and adding whimsy with digitally collaged newspaper for skyscrapers. A bird’s-eye view of Jabari’s toes clinging to the edge of the diving board as he looks way, way down at the blue pool below puts readers in his head and in the action.

This simple and sincere tale of working up courage to face fears makes quite a splash. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 9, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7838-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

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