An entertaining, unusual story.

MIRANDY AND BROTHER WIND

When Ma Dear tells Mirandy that "whoever catch the Wind can make him do their bidding," Mirandy vows that she'll dance with the Wind at her first cakewalk.

She tries one thing and then another to catch him—pepper to make him sneeze, the advice of the conjure woman—while scorning her friend Ezel as too clumsy to dance with. But when Orlinda makes fun of Ezel's dancing, Mirandy leaps to his defense and chooses him as her partner—and together they win the junior cakewalk with such style and grace that Grandmama says, "Them chullin' is dancing with the Wind!" As she did in Flossie and the Fox (1986), McKissack has created in Mirandy a character full of vigor, humor, and imagination. Pinkney captures the liveliness of the story in his expansive paintings, dappled with impressionistic hues; these are prosperous, happy country folk of a few years ago (McKissack notes that her grandparents won a similar contest in this Afro-American dance in 1906). The half-imaginary wind is shown, top-hatted, in evanescent blues.

An entertaining, unusual story. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 10, 1988

ISBN: 978-0-394-88765-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Dec. 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1988

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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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Good fun for all little ninjas and their parents.

NAUGHTY NINJA TAKES A BATH

After swinging out from the jungle after a long day of ninja-ing, Will makes his way home just in time for a bath. But as all ninjas know, danger lurks around every corner.

Even naughty ninjas get hungry, but Dad says, “Pee-yew,” and insists his little ninja get clean before going near a morsel. Ever the Naughty Ninja, Will follows his dad into the bathroom and immediately spies danger: Poisonous flies that have followed him from the jungle! As any parent would, his dad begs him not to say, “Ninja to the rescue,” because we all know what comes after a catchphrase…chaos! Through each increasingly rough rescue, Dad finds himself more and more defeated in his quest to complete bathtime, but ultimately he starts to find the infectious joy that only the ridiculousness of children can bring out in an adult. The art is bright and finds some nifty ninja perspectives that use the space well. It also places an interracial family at its center: Dad has brown skin and dark, puffy hair, and Mom is a white redhead; when out of his ninja cowl, Will looks like a slightly lighter-skinned version of his father. Kids will laugh at everything the dad is put through, and parents will knowingly nod, because we have all had nights with little ninjas soaking the bathroom floor. The book starts out a little text heavy but finds its groove quickly, reading smoothly going forward. Lots of action means it’s best not to save this one for bedtime.

Good fun for all little ninjas and their parents. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5420-9433-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2019

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