Lovers of ballet will be enthralled by this coming-of-age of a 20th-century superstar.

AN UNLIKELY BALLERINA

An English girl embraces an unlikely but lifelong passion—dancing ballet.

Lily Marks, born in London in 1910, did not walk properly as a child. Her parents took her to a doctor who prescribed leg braces. Lily’s unhappy face led him to suggest a very different therapy, “dancing lessons,” and her parents agreed. Lily became a star pupil, singled out as very talented. She loved the classes and staged shows with her sisters. Private lessons followed. The turning point, however, came when her father took her to a performance by the legendary Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova. And Lily and Anna shared another similarity; both were Jewish. (Pavlova’s father, according to some sources, was Jewish.) Lily got to meet her heroine after the ballet performance and even danced for her. Pavlova encouraged her, and Lily knew at that moment that “she would devote her life to the ballet she loved.” She danced with the Ballets Russes and other companies, and audiences responded with enthusiasm and love. An afterword explains that her professional name change to Alicia Markova came about because balletomanes loved Russian dancers. Goddu’s brief biography is filled with admiration for a ballet icon. Kawa’s stylized, jewel-toned illustrations are elegant and filled with scenes of old-world theaters, estates, and dress.

Lovers of ballet will be enthralled by this coming-of-age of a 20th-century superstar. (afterword, photographs) (Picture book/biography. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5124-8362-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kar-Ben

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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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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An early reader that kids will want to befriend.

NOT ME!

In an odd-couple pairing of Bear and Chipmunk, only one friend is truly happy to spend the day at the beach.

“Not me!” is poor Chipmunk’s lament each time Bear expresses the pleasure he takes in sunning, swimming, and other activities at the beach. While controlled, repetitive text makes the story accessible to new readers, slapstick humor characterizes the busy watercolor-and-ink illustrations and adds interest. Poor Chipmunk is pinched by a crab, buried in sand, and swept upside down into the water, to name just a few mishaps. Although other animal beachgoers seem to notice Chipmunk’s distress, Bear cheerily goes about his day and seems blithely ignorant of his friend’s misfortunes. The playful tone of the illustrations helps soften the dynamic so that it doesn’t seem as though Chipmunk is in grave danger or that Bear is cruel. As they leave at the end of the book Bear finally asks, “Why did you come?” and Chipmunk’s sweet response caps off the day with a warm sunset in the background.

An early reader that kids will want to befriend. (Early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3546-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015

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