The ballerina-to-be explores new and challenging steps—successfully.


From the Tallulah series , Vol. 4

To toe or to tap—that is the question for Tallulah.    

Tallulah happily looks forward to summer dance classes except for one hitch. She will have to take tap lessons. Younger brother Beckett is eager for them, but Tallulah is disdainful. As expected, she does well in ballet, even receiving compliments from the teacher. A girl in her class, Kacie, is also not a happy camper. She is a tap dancer and loves it because it is “so much cooler.” In her continuing tales of the Brooklyn balletomane, Singer sets up a see-saw scenario that sees Tallulah struggle with tapping and Kacie grapple with ballet. Self-confidence takes a direct hit as both girls refuse to face less-than-stellar class performances. When Kacie turns up as a surprise dinner guest, Beckett prods the two girls into admitting their fears. They help each other with steps and exchange friendship bracelets. Boiger continues to provide lovely watercolor paintings; summery greens for the camp setting and for costumes are just the right touch. Endpapers depict the four moves in tap’s flap step. Kacie demonstrates them at the beginning of the book, and Tallulah joins her at the conclusion. And, of course, Tallulah’s front-cover green-and-pink tutu is satisfyingly glittery.

The ballerina-to-be explores new and challenging steps—successfully. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 5, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-544-23687-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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


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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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


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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet