A PATTERN FOR PEPPER

Sweet, inventive, and delightful.

Mr. Taylor will make Pepper a very special dress for a very special occasion.

There are so many wonderful fabrics from which to choose in this old-fashioned shop. Mr. Taylor is meticulous and measures Pepper very carefully before they begin discussing choices. He shows her many fabric designs, offering tidbits of information about their origins and describing their intricacies. However, Pepper turns each one down, declaring that it is not suitable for a special occasion. Her reasons are often based on a literal interpretation of Mr. Taylor’s explanation. Tartans are used for clothing and bagpipes, but “Bagpipes are just TOO LOUD!” She rejects herringbone, houndstooth, argyle, toile, and more, before Mr. Taylor finds the perfect one. Then they sketch dress designs together and he sets to work with paper patterns, pins, and needle and thread. Her paisley dress complete, Pepper proudly wears it to celebrate Grandma’s birthday with tea and croquet in the garden. All that information about textiles could have been dry and didactic, but Kraulis keeps it lively and filled with giggle-inspiring double meanings and puns. The oil-and-graphite illustrations in varying tones of blues and browns are perfectly suited to the tale, which has an old-fashioned sensibility that will charm modern young readers. Pepper, her family, and Mr. Taylor are all white.

Sweet, inventive, and delightful. (sources) (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-10191-756-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Tundra Books

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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THERE'S A ROCK CONCERT IN MY BEDROOM

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads.

Emma deals with jitters before playing the guitar in the school talent show.

Pop musician Kevin Jonas and his wife, Danielle, put performance at the center of their picture-book debut. When Emma is intimidated by her very talented friends, the encouragement of her younger sister, Bella, and the support of her family help her to shine her own light. The story is straightforward and the moral familiar: Draw strength from your family and within to overcome your fears. Employing the performance-anxiety trope that’s been written many times over, the book plods along predictably—there’s nothing really new or surprising here. Dawson’s full-color digital illustrations center a White-presenting family along with Emma’s three friends of color: Jamila has tanned skin and wears a hijab; Wendy has dark brown skin and Afro puffs; and Luis has medium brown skin. Emma’s expressive eyes and face are the real draw of the artwork—from worry to embarrassment to joy, it’s clear what she’s feeling. A standout double-page spread depicts Emma’s talent show performance, with a rainbow swirl of music erupting from an amp and Emma rocking a glam outfit and electric guitar. Overall, the book reads pretty plainly, buoyed largely by the artwork. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35207-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

J.D. AND THE FAMILY BUSINESS

From the J.D. the Kid Barber series , Vol. 2

A strong second outing for Dillard and J.D.

Breakout kid barber J.D. embraces a summer of opportunity.

Readers met J.D. Jones just as he took his hometown of Meridian, Mississippi, by storm, winning himself community acclaim and a chair at the revered Hart and Sons barbershop in series opener J.D. and the Great Barber Battle(2021). What’s next for the haircut prodigy? School’s just getting out, and there’s so much life happening outside—if only one can escape home learning with the grandparents. J.D.’s sister, Vanessa, brings along multitalented mutual friend Jessyka to share an ambitious challenge: “Let’s start a YouTube channel!” Can they get millions of views and wow the whole world? They are already amazing at haircuts and hairstyles—all they need is to learn how to make a great YouTube video. The story models strategies for scripting short videos reflecting the templates of viral YouTube hair tutorials, inviting readers to not only see the journey of the characters, but maybe also practice these skills at home. This book is bound to educate all about some of the most storied and cherished traditions within the Black community. Bringing in Vanessa is a great touch to extend the series across gender, and hopefully she’ll get a chance to lead her own adventures. This book blends skill-building, entrepreneurship, and strong family values to give young Black children visions of what’s possible when they follow their passions and embrace their community.

A strong second outing for Dillard and J.D. (Fiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-11155-0

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Kokila

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

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