Exuberant and gorgeous—like the music.

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BIRD & DIZ

The innovative collaboration between jazz trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie and saxophonist Charlie “Bird” Parker is celebrated within a double-sided, accordion-fold format.

Golio’s text both describes and echoes the playful aspects of Bird and Diz’s music as “They take turns, / tossing notes back and forth like jugglers, // or play at the same time, / saxophone and trumpet / singing together.” Then, “Diz’s cheeks swell up, / like a frog with glasses. / He points his trumpet and shoots out fireworks. / Tag, Bird—you’re it!” On the first 12 panels, which make up one long, unfurling side of the pleated sheet, Golio focuses on the musicians’ onstage interplay. On the reverse panels, the music itself’s the focus. “Bebop—fast jazz…. // It’s fall on your face or fly!” Young layers pastels and gouache on golden brown, water-resistant paper, giving each musician a distinctive color aura. Dizzy’s is neon orange and fuchsia, while Bird’s is teal green and periwinkle with violet accents. These auras not only visually distinguish each musician, but morph, on the verso panels, into a color-coded visual notation, articulating solos and unison playing—a bebop ECG! Inked contour lines and looping calligraphy skitter and skip like Diz’s staccato trumpet bleats. Alas, the choice of Tempus Sans for the text type sounds the one sour note here: Its twee whimsy’s more suited to lullabies than hip, mid20th-century bebop.

Exuberant and gorgeous—like the music. (afterword, suggested recordings) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6660-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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A resplendent masterpiece.

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DREAMERS

Based on her experience of leaving Mexico for the United States, Morales’ latest offers an immigrant’s tale steeped in hope, dreams, and love.

This story begins with a union between mother and son, with arms outstretched in the midst of a new beginning. Soon after, mother and son step on a bridge, expansive “like the universe,” to cross to the other side, to become immigrants. An ethereal city appears, enfolded in fog. The brown-skinned woman and her child walk through this strange new land, unwilling to speak, unaccustomed to “words unlike those of our ancestors.” But soon their journey takes them to the most marvelous of places: the library. In a series of stunning double-page spreads, Morales fully captures the sheer bliss of discovery as their imaginations take flight. The vibrant, surreal mixed-media artwork, including Mexican fabric, metal sheets, “the comal where I grill my quesadillas,” childhood drawings, and leaves and plants, represents a spectacular culmination of the author’s work thus far. Presented in both English and Spanish editions (the latter in Teresa Mlawer’s translation), equal in evocative language, the text moves with purpose. No word is unnecessary, each a deliberate steppingstone onto the next. Details in the art provide cultural markers specific to the U.S., but the story ultimately belongs to one immigrant mother and her son. Thanks to books and stories (some of her favorites are appended), the pair find their voices as “soñadores of the world.”

A resplendent masterpiece. (author’s note) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4055-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Neal Porter/Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Aug. 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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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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