A lively introduction to distant places with some deeply unfortunate visuals.

READ REVIEW

ANTS 'N' UNCLES

Silhouette artist Rice offers another imaginative tale using his intricate cut-paper designs.

The creator of Mama, Let’s Make a Moon (2013) invites children to “dance like there are ants in your pants” in a rollicking tall tale. The narrator, a barefoot child with braided pigtails that sometimes stand on end in surprise, uses rhythm and rhyme to tell the story of an uncle who discovers a talent for dancing after stepping in a bed of ants. Playful language sets the scene: “Ants ’n’ uncles, uncles ’n’ ants / dancin’ the world with ants in his pants. / Goin’ where he’s / never been before on / his un-ant-ticipated / world tour.” The lively, poster-style illustrations accompany the uncle as he limbos, pirouettes, moonwalks, and tangos to fame through the world’s big cities, sending home postcards as he goes. Vivid colors pop off the pages as Uncle Bob goes from dancing in a spotlight to balancing atop the Eiffel Tower, with dancing ants alongside him. Unfortunately, Rice depicts Uncle Bob with exaggeratedly large, bare feet throughout, and several of the silhouettes also give him pendulous lips. The nature of the media means they are not detailed enough to keep readers from associating many of these images with minstrelsy.

A lively introduction to distant places with some deeply unfortunate visuals. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-942934-68-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Familius

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A snort-inducing lesson of both bravery and preparation.

THE BEAR MUST GO ON

Four woodland animal friends put on a show.

Rabbit, Squirrel, and aptly named Other Squirrel (who has slightly redder fur than Squirrel) are a flurry of activity. They are going to put on a show. “A BIG show.…The BEST show!” It will have hats (tall ones), tickets (shiny ones), and a curtain (red—no, green). There are many decisions to be made. Bear, however, does not want to be part of it. He is too shy. He would prefer to be the note taker. Rabbit, Squirrel, and Other Squirrel fire off ideas, amending one another’s at furious speed, and Bear writes them all down. Scribbles appear in the white space surrounding the boulderlike ursine’s head. The ideas pile up; debut illustrator Todd deftly covers an entire page while Bear hunches in the middle, furiously writing. He hums a tune to keep himself calm. On the night of the performance, everything seems ready. Everything except…the show! They were so bogged down with the details, no one figured out what the show would be. The title gives away the ending from the very start, but Bear’s pluck is nevertheless laudable. Petty’s comedic quips are echoed in the frenzied art, with Bear looming large yet timid to ground it all. Limited, skilled use of panels helps to control the pacing.

A snort-inducing lesson of both bravery and preparation. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-3747-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more