How glorious: a story about a black child experiencing the outdoors that is beautiful in every way.

SOUTHWEST SUNRISE

A young black child reluctantly moves from New York City to New Mexico.

The young protagonist is not excited about leaving New York City and “the feeling of wow / craning my neck to study / the tops of skyscrapers” to move to New Mexico, where everything will be “browns and tans / …the only colors / deserts are good for” (a questionable choice of words). But on this first morning in New Mexico, the grumpy kid is gifted with a series of nature-based surprises. First, a mountain unnoticed the night before is waiting outside the “barless window.” Here and throughout the book, Minor’s lovely art captures the beauty of the Southwestern United States in gouache watercolors—in this case presenting a picturesque scene perfectly captured in a window frame surrounded by white space that makes the view all the more arresting. With the help of a field guide, the young protagonist sets off on a nature walk that reveals colorful flowers, birds, lizards, vistas, and more, all described with Grimes’ signature poetic lyricism and vividly depicted in Minor’s gorgeous illustrations. By the end of the walk, the intrepid budding naturalist is ready to give this beautiful new home a try.

How glorious: a story about a black child experiencing the outdoors that is beautiful in every way. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5476-0082-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.

MAMA BUILT A LITTLE NEST

Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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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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