BE A BABY

This original lyrical homage to a baby offers metaphorical images for each kind of mood or action an infant might experience in her very young life. Being a baby encompasses the happy cooing of a bird, the playfulness of a tub of pudding or a monkey’s hunger satisfied with bananas. Playfulness and wonder lead to fatigue, inevitable tears and to the eventual peacefulness of sleep. A mother’s understanding voice tells her little one to “Be a moonbeam, Baby. / Be everything you are. / And I’ll toss you to the sky top / to meet the northern star. / Or be a baby, Baby, / and I’ll bundle you up tight. / And I’ll rock you in my arms / until the night turns light.” Gouache paintings in soft, muted blues, browns and greens provide background settings for a pink-skinned baby girl with wide curious eyes. The gentle rhyming text and the message it conveys is as much for new moms as for babies discovering themselves and the world around them. Multiple read alouds will surely be welcomed. (Picture book. 6-18 months)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-88899-776-0

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2007

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BRONZEVILLE BOYS AND GIRLS

Brooks’s gloriously universal celebration of African-American childhood here receives a respectful and joyous treatment from one of the pre-eminent illustrators of the same. Readers coming to “Narcissa,” “Beulah at Church” and “Marie Lucille” for the first time will discover them accompanied by Ringgold’s trademark folk-art interpretations, the expressive brown figures depicted for the most part as vignettes against bright backgrounds. They show a Bronzeville that bustles with activity, single-family homes sharing the streets with apartment buildings and the occasional vacant lot. The children run, braids and arms out straight, and contemplate in turns, their exuberance tempered by the solemnity of childhood. While it’s regrettable that occasionally the specificity of the illustration robs a verse of its universality—the “special place” referenced in “Keziah” is shown to be underneath the kitchen table, for instance—the overall ebullience of the images more than compensates. There is a drop of truth in every single playful, piercing stanza, and anything that brings these poems to a new audience is to be cheered; a lovely package indeed. (Picture book/poetry. 7+)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2007

ISBN: 0-06-029505-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2006

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THE CROSSOVER

Poet Alexander deftly reveals the power of the format to pack an emotional punch.

Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2014


  • New York Times Bestseller


  • Newbery Medal Winner

Basketball-playing twins find challenges to their relationship on and off the court as they cope with changes in their lives.

Josh Bell and his twin, Jordan, aka JB, are stars of their school basketball team. They are also successful students, since their educator mother will stand for nothing else. As the two middle schoolers move to a successful season, readers can see their differences despite the sibling connection. After all, Josh has dreadlocks and is quiet on court, and JB is bald and a trash talker. Their love of the sport comes from their father, who had also excelled in the game, though his championship was achieved overseas. Now, however, he does not have a job and seems to have health problems the parents do not fully divulge to the boys. The twins experience their first major rift when JB is attracted to a new girl in their school, and Josh finds himself without his brother. This novel in verse is rich in character and relationships. Most interesting is the family dynamic that informs so much of the narrative, which always reveals, never tells. While Josh relates the story, readers get a full picture of major and minor players. The basketball action provides energy and rhythm for a moving story.

Poet Alexander deftly reveals the power of the format to pack an emotional punch. (Verse fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-544-10771-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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