Bound to provoke many cries of “Again!” (Picture book. 3-6)

UNSTOPPABLE ME

Readers follow a preschool-age child through the day, watching the child take on the world as “movement," ”heat,” and “powered by PLAY!”

The nameless child runs through the day with the kind of energy that only small children can really muster. This Everykid plays, loves, and laughs, affirming not just unstoppability, but an unapologetic love of self. The child and a diverse cast of friends “bounce,” “spin,” “tumble,” and “dig” themselves into oblivion and bedtime. Joyner’s vivid colors give the book and text a feeling of energy and highlight the diversity of the characters on the pages. The brown-skinned protagonist’s parents are an interracial couple, and the children at school display a wide variety of skin colors, hairstyles, and textures—some girls wear hijab—ensuring that many children will be able to see some of themselves in the story. The illustrations are appropriately filled with movement, and their busyness really captures what it is like to be a kid. Although the text is spare—more a sequence of phrases than complete sentences that connect to one another—its profusion of exclamation marks and subtle cadences make it a delightful read-aloud that kids will enjoy and parents will get a chuckle out of as they see themselves in the book as well (bleary-eyed morning phone check while kid bounds through the room, anyone?).

Bound to provoke many cries of “Again!” (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 23, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-374-30738-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat.

ONE MORE DINO ON THE FLOOR

Dinos that love to move and groove get children counting from one to 10—and perhaps moving to the beat.

Beginning with a solo bop by a female dino (she has eyelashes, doncha know), the dinosaur dance party begins. Each turn of the page adds another dino and a change in the dance genre: waltz, country line dancing, disco, limbo, square dancing, hip-hop, and swing. As the party would be incomplete without the moonwalk, the T. Rex does the honors…and once they are beyond their initial panic at his appearance, the onlookers cheer wildly. The repeated refrain on each spread allows for audience participation, though it doesn’t easily trip off the tongue: “They hear a swish. / What’s this? / One more? / One more dino on the floor.” Some of the prehistoric beasts are easily identifiable—pterodactyl, ankylosaurus, triceratops—but others will be known only to the dino-obsessed; none are identified, other than T-Rex. Packed spreads filled with psychedelically colored dinos sporting blocks of color, stripes, or polka dots (and infectious looks of joy) make identification even more difficult, to say nothing of counting them. Indeed, this fails as a counting primer: there are extra animals (and sometimes a grumpy T-Rex) in the backgrounds, and the next dino to join the party pokes its head into the frame on the page before. Besides all that, most kids won’t get the dance references.

It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8075-1598-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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A memorable life—a forgettable presentation.

I AM JACKIE ROBINSON

From the Ordinary People Change the World series

Baseball’s No. 42 strikes out.

Even as a babe in his mother’s arms, Robinson is depicted wearing his Brooklyn Dodgers baseball cap in this latest entry in the Ordinary People Change the World series. He narrates his childhood alongside cartoon panels that show him as an expert runner and thrower. Racism and poverty are also part of his growing up, along with lessons in sharing and courage. Incredibly, the Negro Leagues are not mentioned beyond a passing reference to “a black team” with a picture of the Kansas City Monarchs next to their team bus (still looking like a child in the illustration, Robinson whines, “Gross! Is this food or goo?”). In 1946, Branch Rickey signs him to play for the Dodgers’ farm team, and the rest, as they say, is history. Robinson concludes his story with an exhortation to readers to be brave, strong and use their “power to do what’s right. / Use that power for a cause that you believe in.” Meltzer writes his inspirational biography as a first-person narrative, which risks being construed and used as an autobiography—which it is not. The digitally rendered cartoon illustrations that show Robinson as a perpetual child fall sadly short of capturing his demeanor and prowess.

A memorable life—a forgettable presentation. (photographs, timeline, sources, further reading) (Picture book/biography. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8037-4086-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2014

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