A beautifully illustrated poem that speaks of every child’s complex, imaginative character.

ALL THAT I AM

A young child’s affirmation of their potential in the world.

On the opening spread, a parent drives a well-packed car along a road at twilight, with two children in the back seat. The following spread zooms in to show the elder one, a kid with brown skin and black hair pulled into a puffball, peering up at the moon. Rhyming stanzas capture the child’s recognition of aspects of themself in the world—bright as the moon in the night sky, loud as the waves at the shore, looking up at the sky like the flowers in the field. But, they say, “that still isn’t all that I am.” Carlin’s evocative, often impressionistic illustrations embed the child in the natural world, depicting them towering next to giant evergreens, tiny as the bunnies in their underground den, silhouetted in a tent during a storm. Carlin centers the child’s experience by painting them in color, with other family members in monotone. In fact, the palette of brilliant greens, luminous yellows, deep dark blues, striking grays, and more invites repeat viewings of each spread. Clark’s stanzas tumble along in a gentle yet powerful rhythm that begs to be read aloud slowly and savored. As the child comes to understand this elemental self, they also realize that they are yet to be—still moving along the journey of their life.

A beautifully illustrated poem that speaks of every child’s complex, imaginative character. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-970147-46-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 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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Nice enough, but its twinkle is on the faint side.

TWINKLE TWINKLE LITTLE KID

A boy gets an unusual payoff after wishing on a star.

Sitting outside one night, Clyde notices a lone star in the sky. He recites the “Star light, star bright” incantation and makes a wish. Disappointed when it doesn’t come true, he returns home. But later, while he’s asleep, the star he’d wished on sneaks into his bedroom and makes a wish on him! Startled awake, Clyde wonders how to grant Star’s wish. He shares some ideas (and actual objects) with her: a game of checkers, tent camping, tossing a Frisbee, and walkie-talkies. Star likes them, but they’re not her wishes; Clyde confides there’s no one to enjoy them with—and wonders if perhaps Star had wished for a friend. No one will be surprised at what Clyde next confesses to Star. The pair winds up playing together and becoming besties. This is a sweet but thin and predictable story about making friends. Still, readers will appreciate meeting feisty, celestial Star. The author reaches for humor using colloquialisms (“freaked out”), and kids will like the comfortable familiarity that develops between the cheery protagonists. The colored-pencil illustrations are rendered in a limited palette of mostly dark blues and purples, appropriate to the nighttime setting. Star is a luminous, pale yellow with a white topknot and has a star-dappled aura around her. Purple-pj’d Clyde wears bunny slippers and presents White. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Nice enough, but its twinkle is on the faint side. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-399-17132-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

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