As neatly summed up in Jan Spivey Gilchrist's attractive jacket art, there are several themes in this warm school-and-family story, set near Washington, D.C. Koya is distressed by a falling-out between her sister Loritha and her best friend Dawn, the result of a spiteful trick Dawn plays on Loritha just before a ""double-dutch"" contest. The jacket's swirling jump-ropes with the two girls suggest a treble clef--even more important than the team competition is a visit from cousin Del, a popular singer. Del's fans' adulation leads to Koya getting in touch with her own emotions: though her inability to express her justifiable anger at Dawn has delayed resolving the bad feelings among the three girls, when the fans drown out Del's music with their enthusiasm her indignation erupts; and once she's felt it, Koya creatively learns to combine righteous anger with her habitual tactic when she's upset--telling jokes, for which she has a special gift. The resolution here is a tad simplistic, and the adults--though admirable role models--seem a little too good to be true. (Still, it's grand to read about a pop idol who turns down his sound to protect young ears and picks up the litter his admirers have left by his host's door.) The girls are credible and more subtly drawn, their troubles and triumphs engaging. Meanwhile, Greenfield (a much-honored author and poet) narrates with grace and clarity, weaving her several themes into a carefully structured, thought-provoking story that should be a long-lived favorite.