Hip and Hop (Hip & Hop, Don't Stop!, 2010) return to put some positive vibes into the life of a Mr. Negativo.
Czekaj’s rap duo has taken the show on the road for the summer. They have wowed the crowds all across Oldskool County with their blend of jazzy and languorous rapping. Hip, being a turtle, rhymes to his own relaxed beat, while Hop, a rabbit, puts a little zip into her phrasings, and readers are encouraged to follow suit. The raps have the kind of engaging splash that ought to get those same readers into the mix, maybe throwing down a few of their own lines to go with “We’re leaping frogs / and chilling on logs,” and “We’re holding our breath, / while still looking def.” But one of the book’s characters, Yaul the porcupine, isn’t impressed. Actually, Yaul isn’t impressed by anything: not rainbows or butterflies, not stylish mittens, fuzzy kittens, carrots or parrots. It takes an itchy sweater to turn Yaul’s head around—to learn that he can chill enough to get excited about the world around him (maybe not sewer grates, admittedly)—which is appropriately out of left field to go along with the rest of the story.
Czekaj’s tale radiates good cheer, in both its snappy dialogue and its vitalizing artwork, and effectively counsels that involvement is one of the keys to living. (Picture book. 3-7)