PICTURES FOR MISS JOSIE

An African-American boy’s success is demonstrated in this brief narrative that credits the supportive mentoring he received from a strong and disciplined educator. The young boy first meets Miss Josie when his father brings him to her home for an overnight stay. Her tall, imposing appearance is intimidating and makes the boy feel unsure of the purpose of his visit even as she introduces him to her capital city’s famous monuments and symbols and encourages his interest in art by allowing him to draw while in her home. Several years later, when he’s traveling to a summer camp and needs to change trains in Washington D.C., his father arranges a meeting with her in the station, but the boy’s continued uneasiness prevails and he carefully avoids her before boarding the next train. College brings the now him to Washington once more. He agrees to one Sunday visit with Miss Josie, as he realizes her towering presence is no longer scary, but protective and inspiring, and a new learning relationship and lasting friendship develop. The years pass, bringing graduation, marriage, and a son. Miss Josie, while physically older and increasingly slower and deafer, maintains a strong influence in the new father’s life and the cycle continues when he introduces his own boy to the woman who urged him to follow his artistic dream. Belton bases this gracious, gentle-hearted story on a real person. Andrews employs an elongated style in full-color collage and oil paints that highlights Miss Josie’s statuesque and eloquent figure against a bright and vibrant background. A fine tribute. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-688-17480-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Greenwillow

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2003

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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Cool beans indeed.

THE COOL BEAN

A supposed “has-bean” shows that coolness has more to do with deeds than demeanor.

Offering further moral instruction in this leguminous cousin to The Bad Seed (2017) and The Good Egg (2019), Oswald portrays three beans—each a different species but all sporting boss shades, fly threads, and that requisite air of nonchalance—bringing the cool to streets, hallways, playgrounds, and Leguma Beach. Meanwhile, a fourth (a scraggly-haired chickpea), whose efforts to echo the look and the ’tude have fallen flat, takes on the role of nerdy narrator to recall “olden days” when they all hung out in the same pod. Still, despite rolling separate ways (nobody’s fault: “That’s just how it is sometimes. You spend less time together, even though you’re not totally sure why”), when the uncool bean drops a lunch tray, skins a kid knee on the playground, or just needs a hint in class, one of the others is always on the scene toot suite. No biggie. And passing those casual acts of kindness forward? “Now that’s cool.” John’s good-hearted text makes some hay with the bean puns while Oswald’s pipe-stemmed limbs, googly eyes, and accessories give these anthropomorphic legumes lots of personality. As a fava to young audiences, pair with Jamie Michalak and Frank Kolar’s Frank and Bean (2019) for a musical combination.

Cool beans indeed. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-295452-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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