While this may open the door for discussion, the lack of a real conclusion may leave readers unsatisfied.

SAM AND THE BIG KIDS

From the I Like To Read series

Can there be a positive side to a pesky little brother who won’t leave his big sister and her friend to their play?

There is in the latest I Like to Read series entry. Poor Sam is always trying to join in the fun his sister and her friend are having without him. But each time the little bear (so very politely) asks to play, they rather rudely tell him, “You are too small….Go home.” He can’t join in their picnic and is rebuffed from hiding in the cave, and when he wants to join in on making a fort, the friend has him count to 100, cruelly making him believe he is a part of a game. When sister and friend find a boat, they row to an island (wearing life jackets) and finally get the peace and privacy they so wanted…but what will they do when the boat floats away? While Sam becomes their hero, the book ends on this note, never satisfyingly tying up the question of whether Sam will be a welcome playmate in the future. The illustrations, done in pen, ink and watercolor, reflect the green and gray countryside nicely, though the facial expressions of the characters can be a mixed bag—the friend especially shows some mean emotions on her face, though the sister does seem to feel some remorse.

While this may open the door for discussion, the lack of a real conclusion may leave readers unsatisfied. (Easy reader. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8234-2427-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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This simple and sincere tale of working up courage to face fears makes quite a splash.

JABARI JUMPS

Young Jabari decides today is the day he is going to jump from the diving board, even though it’s a little high and a little scary.

Jabari’s father and baby sister accompany him to the swimming pool in the city, where Jabari has already made up his mind about today’s goal: jumping off the diving board. “I’m a great jumper,” he says, “so I’m not scared at all.” But that’s not entirely true. Readers see Jabari play the waiting game as the other children (a diverse bunch) make their ways past him in line. Once Jabari finally begins to climb up, he slyly remembers that he forgot to “stretch.” The stalling techniques don’t faze his dad, who sees an opportunity for a life lesson. “It’s okay to feel a little scared,” offers his dad at the side of the pool. With renewed will, Jabari returns to the towering diving board, ready to embrace the feat. In her debut, Cornwall places her loving black family at the center, coloring the swimming pool and park beyond in minty hues and adding whimsy with digitally collaged newspaper for skyscrapers. A bird’s-eye view of Jabari’s toes clinging to the edge of the diving board as he looks way, way down at the blue pool below puts readers in his head and in the action.

This simple and sincere tale of working up courage to face fears makes quite a splash. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 9, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7838-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

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Nice enough, but its twinkle is on the faint side.

TWINKLE TWINKLE LITTLE KID

A boy gets an unusual payoff after wishing on a star.

Sitting outside one night, Clyde notices a lone star in the sky. He recites the “Star light, star bright” incantation and makes a wish. Disappointed when it doesn’t come true, he returns home. But later, while he’s asleep, the star he’d wished on sneaks into his bedroom and makes a wish on him! Startled awake, Clyde wonders how to grant Star’s wish. He shares some ideas (and actual objects) with her: a game of checkers, tent camping, tossing a Frisbee, and walkie-talkies. Star likes them, but they’re not her wishes; Clyde confides there’s no one to enjoy them with—and wonders if perhaps Star had wished for a friend. No one will be surprised at what Clyde next confesses to Star. The pair winds up playing together and becoming besties. This is a sweet but thin and predictable story about making friends. Still, readers will appreciate meeting feisty, celestial Star. The author reaches for humor using colloquialisms (“freaked out”), and kids will like the comfortable familiarity that develops between the cheery protagonists. The colored-pencil illustrations are rendered in a limited palette of mostly dark blues and purples, appropriate to the nighttime setting. Star is a luminous, pale yellow with a white topknot and has a star-dappled aura around her. Purple-pj’d Clyde wears bunny slippers and presents White. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Nice enough, but its twinkle is on the faint side. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-399-17132-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

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