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READY, SET, SKIP! by Jane O’Connor Kirkus Star


by Jane O’Connor & illustrated by Ann James

Age Range: 4 - 6

Pub Date: May 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-670-06216-4
Publisher: Viking

The narrator of this effervescent exercise in rhyme cannot skip. She can leap, creep, twirl, skate and “BURRRRRRRRRRP!”—but itches to add skipping to her repertoire. Her wise mom asks, “Can you hop?” and, after a perfectly child-calibrated burst of same (“I can hop and / never stop! / Watch!”), bestows the key to the elusive gait. “‘Hop on one foot. / then the other. / That is skipping,’ says my mother.” O’Connor’s deft turns of phrase masterfully capture the initial glumness and ensuing buoyancy, delivering a text perfectly pitched for both storytime kids and emergent readers. Australian illustrator James’s charcoal-shaded watercolors beautifully limn that buoyancy, capturing the narrator’s whirling activity and multifold facial expressions in spot illustrations against a crisp white layout. In a brown bob cut, shorts and bare feet, this little one (with her constant companion, a doting dog redolent of Marc Simont), embodies a hallmark symbiosis of childhood—joy expressed as movement, and movement, a joy in itself. (Picture book. 4-6)