HUNTER & STRIPE & THE SOCCER SHOWDOWN

“Winning isn’t everything,” coach Vince Lombardi famously said, “it’s the only thing.” Or is it? Elliott’s story appreciates that “how you play the game” provides the crucial balance, not to mention the art and sustenance of the athlete, when one team necessarily has to lose. Raccoon mates Hunter and Stripe are back, and this time they find themselves on opposing sides in a game between their unbeaten teams. The competitive drive rears its head and they have a minor falling out. Hunter’s sister provides some insight: “Sports should celebrate the amazing things we can do—no matter who wins.” Hunter is mystified—it’s a big step to take—but he takes it, along with Stripe, when they witness their fathers, as coaches of their respective teams, being over-competitive goofballs. Elliott neatly separates pleasure from instinct, while Munsinger’s stumpy, zealous characters add the right degree of empathy and laughs. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-06-052759-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2005

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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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EQUAL SHMEQUAL

Forest animals learn the many meanings of “equal” through a game of tug-of-war. Mouse initiates the game with Bear, but then realizes that he forgot the important rule of equal teams. As more animals join in, they debate about how to divide evenly and test their ideas. Meat versus plant eaters doesn’t work, nor does furry versus not furry or even halves, since they are different sizes. Bear’s response to it all? “Equal Shmequal.” Gradually the animals learn that just because the numbers are equal does not mean the teams are equal. Mouse’s solution is to equalize the weights, using a seesaw to balance the teams. When Bear and Mouse pull against Turtle, Rabbit, Bobcat, Wolf and Deer, neither side moves—until Bear gets distracted. Moral: “What really matters is equal effort.” A final note tells readers “what it means to be equal” in math, art, law and team sports. Detailed watercolor illustrations clearly show readers what is equal and what is not, especially as the animals fail at their early efforts. A cute look at what can be a difficult concept. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: July 1, 2005

ISBN: 1-57091-891-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2005

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