A contemporary family adoption story and a 19th-century legend are braided together into a tale of extraordinary tenderness and remembered longing. A child sits with her great-aunt Maita, waiting. Aunt Maita grew up on a Maine island where her father was lighthouse keeper. She was taught by her mother, and longed for company. One stormy night, they spot a ship but can do nothing more than keep the light tower lit. When she and her father go down to the shore in the morning, they find a bundle wrapped in eiderdown quilts and tied with sailor’s knots. Within it is a sea chest, with a tiny baby inside with a note from its parents, commending the child into God’s hands. They name her Seaborne, and Maita shares her island treasures such as double-yolk eggs and ripening pumpkins, and teaches her to read. Seaborne is the contemporary child’s great-grandmother, recently passed away, and the chest sits awaiting the new baby girl to be adopted by the narrator’s parents. In her debut for children, Buzzeo uses heightened language with great clarity and emotional precision, and it is elegantly matched by GrandPré’s (Aunt Claire’s Yellow Beehive Hair, 2001, etc.) oil paintings. Her palette partakes of the gold wash of memory and the cherished lavender shadows of home at nightfall. She uses light splendidly: light on the water, light on the island flowers, lamplight on the two girls reading. Altogether a lovely effort. (author’s note) (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-8037-2703-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2002



Give this child’s-eye view of a day at the beach with an attentive father high marks for coziness: “When your ball blows across the sand and into the ocean and starts to drift away, your daddy could say, Didn’t I tell you not to play too close to the waves? But he doesn’t. He wades out into the cold water. And he brings your ball back to the beach and plays roll and catch with you.” Alley depicts a moppet and her relaxed-looking dad (to all appearances a single parent) in informally drawn beach and domestic settings: playing together, snuggling up on the sofa and finally hugging each other goodnight. The third-person voice is a bit distancing, but it makes the togetherness less treacly, and Dad’s mix of love and competence is less insulting, to parents and children both, than Douglas Wood’s What Dads Can’t Do (2000), illus by Doug Cushman. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 23, 2005

ISBN: 0-618-00361-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2005


From the J.D. the Kid Barber series , Vol. 2

A strong second outing for Dillard and J.D.

Breakout kid barber J.D. embraces a summer of opportunity.

Readers met J.D. Jones just as he took his hometown of Meridian, Mississippi, by storm, winning himself community acclaim and a chair at the revered Hart and Sons barbershop in series opener J.D. and the Great Barber Battle(2021). What’s next for the haircut prodigy? School’s just getting out, and there’s so much life happening outside—if only one can escape home learning with the grandparents. J.D.’s sister, Vanessa, brings along multitalented mutual friend Jessyka to share an ambitious challenge: “Let’s start a YouTube channel!” Can they get millions of views and wow the whole world? They are already amazing at haircuts and hairstyles—all they need is to learn how to make a great YouTube video. The story models strategies for scripting short videos reflecting the templates of viral YouTube hair tutorials, inviting readers to not only see the journey of the characters, but maybe also practice these skills at home. This book is bound to educate all about some of the most storied and cherished traditions within the Black community. Bringing in Vanessa is a great touch to extend the series across gender, and hopefully she’ll get a chance to lead her own adventures. This book blends skill-building, entrepreneurship, and strong family values to give young Black children visions of what’s possible when they follow their passions and embrace their community.

A strong second outing for Dillard and J.D. (Fiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-11155-0

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Kokila

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

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