Award-winning Lewis’s lovely realistic watercolor paintings allow readers to be quiet observers viewing the issue from both...

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THE OTHER SIDE

Race relations, a complex issue, is addressed in a simple manner through the eyes of two young girls, one black and one white, on either side of a fence that divides their yards and, in fact, the town.

Both girls have been instructed not to go on the other side of the fence because it’s not safe. Each stares at the other, yearning to know more, but they don’t communicate. When Annie, the white girl, climbs on the fence and asks to jump rope, she is told no by the leader of the black group. The narrator, Clover, has mixed feelings and is unsure whether she would have said yes or no. Later, the girls, with their mothers, meet on the sidewalk in town, looking very much the same, except for the color of their skin. When asked why the mothers don’t talk, the explanation is, “because that’s the way things have always been.” During the heavy summer rains, Annie is outside in her raincoat and boots, having fun splashing in puddles—but Clover must stay inside. When the rains stop, Clover is set free, emerging as a brave soul and approaching Annie in the spirit of her freedom. Eventually, the story finds both girls and all of Clover’s friends sitting on the fence together, kindred spirits in the end. “Someday somebody’s going to come along and knock this old fence down,” Annie says. What a great metaphor Woodson has created for knocking down old beliefs and barriers that keep people apart. Children learn that change can happen little by little, one child at a time.

Award-winning Lewis’s lovely realistic watercolor paintings allow readers to be quiet observers viewing the issue from both sides. (Picture book. 5+)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-399-23116-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2001

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With Ivan’s movie out this year from Disney, expect great interest—it will be richly rewarded.

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THE ONE AND ONLY BOB

Tiny, sassy Bob the dog, friend of The One and Only Ivan (2012), returns to tell his tale.

Wisecracking Bob, who is a little bit Chihuahua among other things, now lives with his girl, Julia, and her parents. Happily, her father works at Wildworld Zoological Park and Sanctuary, the zoo where Bob’s two best friends, Ivan the gorilla and Ruby the elephant, live, so Bob gets to visit and catch up with them regularly. Due to an early betrayal, Bob doesn’t trust humans (most humans are good only for their thumbs); he fears he’s going soft living with Julia, and he’s certain he is a Bad Dog—as in “not a good representative of my species.” On a visit to the zoo with a storm threatening, Bob accidentally falls into the gorilla enclosure just as a tornado strikes. So that’s what it’s like to fly. In the storm’s aftermath, Bob proves to everyone (and finally himself) that there is a big heart in that tiny chest…and a brave one too. With this companion, Applegate picks up where her Newbery Medal winner left off, and fans will be overjoyed to ride along in the head of lovable, self-deprecating Bob on his storm-tossed adventure. His wry doggy observations and attitude are pitch perfect (augmented by the canine glossary and Castelao’s picture dictionary of dog postures found in the frontmatter). Gorilla Ivan described Julia as having straight, black hair in the previous title, and Castelao's illustrations in that volume showed her as pale-skinned. (Finished art not available for review.)

With Ivan’s movie out this year from Disney, expect great interest—it will be richly rewarded. (afterword) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-299131-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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An engrossing, humorous, and vitally important graphic novel that should be required reading in every middle school in...

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NEW KID

From the New Kid series , Vol. 1

Jordan Banks takes readers down the rabbit hole and into his mostly white prep school in this heartbreakingly accurate middle-grade tale of race, class, microaggressions, and the quest for self-identity.

He may be the new kid, but as an African-American boy from Washington Heights, that stigma entails so much more than getting lost on the way to homeroom. Riverdale Academy Day School, located at the opposite end of Manhattan, is a world away, and Jordan finds himself a stranger in a foreign land, where pink clothing is called salmon, white administrators mistake a veteran African-American teacher for the football coach, and white classmates ape African-American Vernacular English to make themselves sound cool. Jordan’s a gifted artist, and his drawings blend with the narrative to give readers a full sense of his two worlds and his methods of coping with existing in between. Craft skillfully employs the graphic-novel format to its full advantage, giving his readers a delightful and authentic cast of characters who, along with New York itself, pop off the page with vibrancy and nuance. Shrinking Jordan to ant-sized proportions upon his entering the school cafeteria, for instance, transforms the lunchroom into a grotesque Wonderland in which his lack of social standing becomes visually arresting and viscerally uncomfortable.

An engrossing, humorous, and vitally important graphic novel that should be required reading in every middle school in America. (Graphic fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-269120-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2018

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