Two new acquaintances explore the natural world—and learn to support each other—in this debut picture book.
Introducing the two titular characters, digital cartoons by debut illustrator Lightstone depict Jazzy, a tutu-wearing African American girl with freckles and pigtails, and Kettle, a jeans-wearing child with short brown hair and light brown skin. The early risers are up before their families, and through their conversation, readers realize the two are both new to the neighborhood, meeting for the first time. Though they understand they might get in trouble, they decide to venture outdoors and enjoy the beauty of nature, encountering a deer. When Jazzy starts to climb a tree, Kettle stays below, afraid. But after a branch breaks and leaves her stranded, Kettle climbs up to help. Safe on the ground, Jazzy calls her journey a mistake, but Kettle, now over his fear, insists it wasn’t: “You tried it, and You got to see tomorrow.” The budding friendship, examined through Quinn’s authentic-sounding dialogue between two elementary school–age children, has appeal, especially with the colorful details provided in Lightstone’s images. But the format may confuse some readers; the lack of dialogue tags may leave them guessing who said what. And the absence of consequences for the kids’ independent trek may concern parents who’d like to know where their children are.
A diverse cast and eye-catching illustrations overcome the dialogue format’s limitations in this creative tale of friendship.