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JANNA AND THE KINGS by Patricia Smith


by Patricia Smith & illustrated by Aaron Boyd

Age Range: 5 - 9

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2003
ISBN: 1-58430-088-4
Publisher: Lee & Low

Janna’s favorite day is Saturday when her grandfather picks her up and takes her for a walk down Madison Street. She feels like a princess, and her grandfather is the king as firefighters, neighbors, and best friends greet them by name. She especially enjoys their weekly trips to Terrell’s Barber Shop, where her grandfather’s friends dote on her. When her grandfather dies, Saturdays don’t feel like real Saturdays. Life goes on around her, but Janna no longer feels like a princess until she makes that Saturday walk down Madison and dares to enter Terrell’s by herself. Despite her fears, the old men greet her like always, and she’s sure her grandfather is still with her. Boyd’s watercolor illustrations are sunny and expressive and help to bring this passable story of intergenerational friendship and loss to life. Though Smith is a journalist and poet, the language does not jump off the page. Despite the story’s sweetness, it’s not special enough to be an essential purchase. (Picture book. 5-9)