Jabari succeeds, and so does this book.

JABARI TRIES

Jabari works hard to build a gizmo that flies, but his best modification may be inspired by his partner.

When Jabari announces his machine will fly “all the way across” their spacious, landscaped yard, he is certain he won’t need any help. While his father gardens and his younger sister plays, Jabari builds a launch ramp, sends his machine through, and…crash! Little Nika wants in on the fun, but Jabari is “concentrating.” He takes inspiration from inventors and engineers, who use creativity and hard work to solve their problems. He plans, sketches, builds, and tries and tries again. He lets Nika help out, reluctantly at first, and when he gets so frustrated he wants to cry, he takes his father’s advice: gathering his patience and blowing away his “muddy feelings.” When he tries once more, with a clear head and support from his pint-sized partner, he discovers a change that makes his machine—and his confidence—soar. This generously sized picture book offers a lovely picture of mentorship and healthy relationships in the context of a thriving Black family with dark skin tones. Jabari’s emotional ups and downs will be familiar to young children, and his hard-won success feels triumphant. Cornwall’s clean, clear illustrations use patterns, green hues, and white space to deliver a variety of effective scenes.

Jabari succeeds, and so does this book. (Picture book. 3-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0716-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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A visual feast teeming with life.

HAVE YOU EVER SEEN A FLOWER?

A young urbanite romps through floral fields and deep into a flower’s anatomy, exploring humanity’s connection to nature.

A solo car travels away from the dense, gray cityscape. Mountains rise up, full of pattern and light, before revealing a fluorescent field of flowers. A child bursts from the car across the page, neon-rainbow hair streaming in the wind, as both child and place radiate joy and life. The brown-skinned, blue-eyed youngster breathes in the meadow and begins an adventure—part Jamberry, part “Thumbelina,” and part existential journey as the child realizes the life force running through the veins of the flower is the same that runs through all of us, from the water that sustains to the sun that grows. Harris’ colored-pencil illustrations are full of energy and spontaneity. His use of patterning and graphic symbology evoke Oaxacan design, yet the style is all his own. The text is equally enthusiastic: “Have you ever seen / a flower so deep / you had to shout / HELLO / and listen for an echo / just to know / how deep it goes?” The text shifts abruptly from metaphor to metaphor, in one spread the flower likened to a palace and a few pages later, to human anatomy. Nevertheless, like the protagonist and the natural environment, readers will feel themselves stretch and bloom.

A visual feast teeming with life. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4521-8270-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2021

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An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way.

NOAH CHASES THE WIND

A young boy sees things a little differently than others.

Noah can see patterns in the dust when it sparkles in the sunlight. And if he puts his nose to the ground, he can smell the “green tang of the ants in the grass.” His most favorite thing of all, however, is to read. Noah has endless curiosity about how and why things work. Books open the door to those answers. But there is one question the books do not explain. When the wind comes whistling by, where does it go? Noah decides to find out. In a chase that has a slight element of danger—wind, after all, is unpredictable—Noah runs down streets, across bridges, near a highway, until the wind lifts him off his feet. Cowman’s gusty wisps show each stream of air turning a different jewel tone, swirling all around. The ribbons gently bring Noah home, setting him down under the same thinking tree where he began. Did it really happen? Worthington’s sensitive exploration leaves readers with their own set of questions and perhaps gratitude for all types of perspective. An author’s note mentions children on the autism spectrum but widens to include all who feel a little different.

An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-60554-356-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Redleaf Lane

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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