Even bath-happy readers will want to hear this book.

OTIS P. OLIVER PROTESTS

To bathe or not to bathe? To Otis P. Oliver, that’s definitely not the question.

Otis P.’s peeved: The dog bathes once a month; he is forced to take four baths a week. How to show he’s serious about avoiding bathtime? Otis dons his dad’s suit and tie, delivers a rousing speech to bath-disgusted pals, and marches the unwashed bunch to his lawn, picket signs aloft. Notes passed between protester and mom, expressing Otis’s tub aversion (and, parenthetically, his dinner concerns) and mom’s responses—with put-upon sisters and dog acting as go-betweens—eventually effect a satisfactory compromise. In the end, though, Otis P. shows he has one more card to lay on the negotiation table. This comical tale about achieving one’s aims creatively should strike a resounding chord with kids, particularly those who aren’t on speaking terms with bathtubs themselves. Children will giggle at Otis’ tactics and back-and-forth correspondence. The expressive illustrations are humorous, energetic, and incorporate the hand-written notes, shown transcribed on pieces torn from lined notebook paper. Otis is white, chubby, and crowned with brown curls; wavy lines suggest he reeks. His family presents with various tones of pale skin and different hair colors and styles; one sister wears glasses. The skin colors, sizes, and hairstyles of Otis’ chums are diverse.

Even bath-happy readers will want to hear this book. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-53411-043-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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A quiet, thought-provoking story of environmental change and the power humans have to slow it.

THE OLD BOAT

A multigenerational tale of a boat’s life with a Black family, written by two brothers who loved similar boats.

In the opening spread, a smiling, brown-skinned adult dangles a line from the back of a green-and-white boat while a boy peers eagerly over the side at the sea life. The text never describes years passing, but each page turn reveals the boy’s aging, more urban development on the shore, increasing water pollution, marine-life changes (sea jellies abound on one page), and shifting water levels. Eventually, the boy, now a teenager, steers the boat, and as an adult, he fishes alone but must go farther and farther out to sea to make his catch. One day, the man loses his way, capsizes in a storm, and washes up on a small bay island, with the overturned, sunken boat just offshore. Now a “new sailor” cleans up the land and water with others’ help. The physical similarities between the shipwrecked sailor and the “new sailor” suggest that this is not a new person but one whose near-death experience has led to an epiphany that changes his relationship to water. As the decaying boat becomes a new marine habitat, the sailor teaches the next generation (a child with hair in two Afro puffs) to fish. Focusing primarily on the sea, the book’s earth-toned illustrations, created with hundreds of stamps, carry the compelling plot.

A quiet, thought-provoking story of environmental change and the power humans have to slow it. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-324-00517-9

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Norton Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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This simple and sincere tale of working up courage to face fears makes quite a splash.

JABARI JUMPS

Young Jabari decides today is the day he is going to jump from the diving board, even though it’s a little high and a little scary.

Jabari’s father and baby sister accompany him to the swimming pool in the city, where Jabari has already made up his mind about today’s goal: jumping off the diving board. “I’m a great jumper,” he says, “so I’m not scared at all.” But that’s not entirely true. Readers see Jabari play the waiting game as the other children (a diverse bunch) make their ways past him in line. Once Jabari finally begins to climb up, he slyly remembers that he forgot to “stretch.” The stalling techniques don’t faze his dad, who sees an opportunity for a life lesson. “It’s okay to feel a little scared,” offers his dad at the side of the pool. With renewed will, Jabari returns to the towering diving board, ready to embrace the feat. In her debut, Cornwall places her loving black family at the center, coloring the swimming pool and park beyond in minty hues and adding whimsy with digitally collaged newspaper for skyscrapers. A bird’s-eye view of Jabari’s toes clinging to the edge of the diving board as he looks way, way down at the blue pool below puts readers in his head and in the action.

This simple and sincere tale of working up courage to face fears makes quite a splash. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 9, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7838-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

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