“There were fat books, thin books, great enormous square books, old books, new books, and furry-touchy-feely books.” The...

LIBRARY LILY

This gentle read presents a rosy-cheeked child, brand-new library card in hand, dazzled by the array of choices surrounding her on the shelves.

“There were fat books, thin books, great enormous square books, old books, new books, and furry-touchy-feely books.” The title’s large trim size invites the listener inside the venerable building too, as do the vivid colors and whimsically shaped and decorated volumes. The protagonist earns her moniker when people notice her total absorption in the literary life. Lily is never without a book, and her tastes run the gamut from “rare lesser Amazonian” snakes to ghost stories. Her mother finally prods her to play in the park, where she meets the tree-climbing Milly, who hates reading. As their friendship develops, they come to appreciate the thrill of discovery in each other's realms. The thick, layered brushwork of the backgrounds and characters contrasts with the bits of cut-paper collage and simple shapes outlined in pencil to present a visually stimulating world—inside and outside the books. While there are no surprises here (nor cell phones, nor iPads), and not enough action to entertain rambunctious listeners, Chessa’s depiction of the interplay between the stories on the pages and those enacted by the girls is both clever and heartwarming. 

Pub Date: July 8, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-8028-5401-8

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Eerdmans

Review Posted Online: July 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2011

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A straightforward, effective approach to helping children cope with one of life’s commonplace yet emotionally fraught...

WHAT DO YOU DO WITH A PROBLEM?

A child struggles with the worry and anxiety that come with an unexpected problem.

In a wonderful balance of text and pictures, the team responsible for What Do You Do With an Idea (2014) returns with another book inspiring children to feel good about themselves. A child frets about a problem that won’t go away: “I wished it would just disappear. I tried everything I could to hide from it. I even found ways to disguise myself. But it still found me.” The spare, direct narrative is accompanied by soft gray illustrations in pencil and watercolor. The sepia-toned figure of the child is set apart from the background and surrounded by lots of white space, visually isolating the problem, which is depicted as a purple storm cloud looming overhead. Color is added bit by bit as the storm cloud grows and its color becomes more saturated. With a backpack and umbrella, the child tries to escape the problem while the storm swirls, awash with compass points scattered across the pages. The pages brighten into splashes of yellow as the child decides to tackle the problem head-on and finds that it holds promise for unlooked-for opportunity.

A straightforward, effective approach to helping children cope with one of life’s commonplace yet emotionally fraught situations, this belongs on the shelf alongside Molly Bang’s Sophie books. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-943-20000-9

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2016

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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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