A joyful, upbeat tale that takes a positive perspective on an immigrant child’s first encounters.



A young refugee’s dream of riding a bicycle comes true at last when he arrives in America.

Though he’s too short to reach the pedals, Joseph loves to help Daau, an older resident of the Kenyan refugee camp at Kakuma, fix and maintain his bicycle. When Joseph and his mother leave the camp for America, though, he sees a bicycle that looks more his size. How can he persuade its owner, a classmate he dubs Whoosh for the way she zooms along, to lend it to him? His first try, a carefully drawn lion, she takes to be only a general offer of friendship. His second, a bandanna, she rejects because “I like my hair freeeeeee.” “Besides,” she goes on, “my bike broke. A tree hit it.” Third time’s the charm, as Joseph’s skill at bicycle repair earns him his longed-for ride—wobbly at first but soon steady and confident enough for no-hands. Cranking up the visual energy with quick, slashing brush strokes, Daley creates a generic urban setting for his dark-skinned young companions, tops Joseph’s new friend with a huge mop of flyaway hair that reflects her exuberant personality, and generally poses figures with widespread arms and welcoming smiles. In contrast to the traumas and cultural conflicts highlighted in many immigrant stories, such as Mary Hoffman and Karin Littlewood’s The Color of Home (2002) or Sarah Garland’s Azzi in Between (2013), Joseph’s adjustment from the outset seems relatively easy.

A joyful, upbeat tale that takes a positive perspective on an immigrant child’s first encounters. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-55451-806-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Annick Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2016

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An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education.


A young visionary describes his ideal school: “Perfectly planned and impeccably clean. / On a scale, 1 to 10, it’s more like 15!”

In keeping with the self-indulgently fanciful lines of If I Built a Car (2005) and If I Built a House (2012), young Jack outlines in Seussian rhyme a shiny, bright, futuristic facility in which students are swept to open-roofed classes in clear tubes, there are no tests but lots of field trips, and art, music, and science are afterthoughts next to the huge and awesome gym, playground, and lunchroom. A robot and lots of cute puppies (including one in a wheeled cart) greet students at the door, robotically made-to-order lunches range from “PB & jelly to squid, lightly seared,” and the library’s books are all animated popups rather than the “everyday regular” sorts. There are no guards to be seen in the spacious hallways—hardly any adults at all, come to that—and the sparse coed student body features light- and dark-skinned figures in roughly equal numbers, a few with Asian features, and one in a wheelchair. Aside from the lack of restrooms, it seems an idyllic environment—at least for dog-loving children who prefer sports and play over quieter pursuits.

An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55291-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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            There are many parallel legends – the seal women, for example, with their strange sad longings – but none is more direct than this American Indian story of a girl who is carried away in a horses’ stampede…to ride thenceforth by the side of a beautiful stallion who leads the wild horses.  The girl had always loved horses, and seemed to understand them “in a special way”; a year after her disappearance her people find her riding beside the stallion, calf in tow, and take her home despite his strong resistance.  But she is unhappy and returns to the stallion; after that, a beautiful mare is seen riding always beside him.  Goble tells the story soberly, allowing it to settle, to find its own level.  The illustrations are in the familiar striking Goble style, but softened out here and there with masses of flowers and foliage – suitable perhaps for the switch in subject matter from war to love, but we miss the spanking clean design of Custer’s Last Battle and The Fetterman Fight.          6-7

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1978

ISBN: 0689845049

Page Count: -

Publisher: Bradbury

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1978

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