Kirkus Reviews QR Code
JOJO THE GIANT by Jane Barclay


by Jane Barclay & illustrated by Esperança Melo

Age Range: 4 - 7

Pub Date: Jan. 10th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-88776-976-4
Publisher: Tundra

Could little JoJo possibly win the big race?

His mother, who works very hard as a mail carrier, always tells him that "Good things come in small packages." But JoJo isn't so sure. So, he's careful to eat all his broccoli and drink his milk. JoJo has big dreams, and he wonders if he'll ever achieve them. Bullies on the corner tease him about his size, calling him a "runaway shrimp!" When Smiling Sam's Shoe Shop sponsors a big race, JoJo obsesses over the prize: a pair of red Rocket Racers. JoJo's mother worries about how desperately he wants them; though well-worn, her plain brown shoes have lasted for years. At the race, a very tall boy named Tony hams it up for reporters. The starting gun's fired; the runners are off in a blur of arms and legs. JoJo keeps up with Tony; the bullies in the stands taunt him with, "Go, Shrimp! Go!" It's a sentiment that Tony laughingly echoes—just the incentive JoJo needs for a final burst of race-winning energy. He gives the shoes to his mother, who really needs them. Melo's acrylics are bright and at their most interesting in those scenes when she plays with perspective—alas, not often enough.

Barclay ably captures the affection of the central relationship, though, and the ending is a genuine surprise. Heartwarming. (Picture book. 4-7)