Even for the anti-confectionary crowd, a believable, relatable story that avoids a saccharine conclusion.

NOT ENOUGH LOLLIPOPS

A windfall of candy creates a philosophical dilemma for a kindhearted young girl.

When Alice wins the school raffle, she receives "a basket of lollipops so big, the principal pulled it onstage in a wagon.” She wants to share it with her classmates, but the elation of winning this sweet prize gives way to stress when it becomes clear that there may not be enough lollipops for everyone. Predictably, some students try to curry favor and sympathy with Alice, reminding her of their past acts of kindness toward her and regaling her with sob stories; "You're my only hope for candy till Halloween," one kid says mournfully. Other kids advise her to exclude certain students from her provision, claiming that the kindergarteners are too young to handle lollipops and suggesting that the new kids could be overlooked since Alice doesn’t know them very well. As the clamor grows, Alice has to make some hard decisions and learn that you can't please everyone. Luckily, the candy crisis works itself out so that there are more than enough sweets to go around…but what to do with the leftovers? Maynor's writing is flavored with wit and wrapped in moral subtleties. Player's retro-styled illustrations tie the hues of the lollipops to the children's colorful attire but never go overboard; there's plenty of drama around the crushing candy saga without overplaying the visuals. There is some racial diversity to Alice’s classmates, and one child uses a wheelchair. Alice reads as White.

Even for the anti-confectionary crowd, a believable, relatable story that avoids a saccharine conclusion. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 8, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-37256-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

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An honest look at motherhood in the contemporary era and a sweet tribute to the bond between mother and child.

ALWAYS WITH YOU, ALWAYS WITH ME

Grammy-winning, multiplatinum singer/songwriter Rowland teams up with California teacher McKay to celebrate busy moms.

This picture book highlights a mother’s frequent longing to be with her child when life’s demands pull them apart. The story takes us through a busy Black mom’s week: She goes to work (at a construction site where she appears to be an engineer), works from home on her son’s sick day, takes him to a museum, and shares domestic duties with her Black male partner, who is a nurse. She encounters many bumps in the road that will be familiar to working parents. Each day, she gently reassures her son with a lyrical refrain: “Always with you, / Always with me, / Mommy and child / Together we’ll be.” This tender story, narrated in the voice of a mother addressing her child, pulls at the heartstrings. Liem’s digital artwork uses a warm palette and has a calming quality. The characters’ body language and heartfelt facial expressions are spot-on. This book will resonate with any mom who knows the heartache of having to say goodbye to their child or who has faced the teary-eyed frustration of a youngster experiencing separation anxiety. Young readers, on the other hand, will find solace in the reassuring narrative. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

An honest look at motherhood in the contemporary era and a sweet tribute to the bond between mother and child. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: April 26, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-46551-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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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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