Pleasing to the eye and ear.

THIS MAGICAL, MUSICAL NIGHT

A symphony soars in rhyming couplets.

Music lover Greene has created a graceful poem to introduce young readers and listeners to all the sounds and sections of a symphony orchestra. She opens, as a concert would, with the entrance of the musicians, the tuning, and the appearance of the conductor. “Applause! A pause. / Then, instruments as one… // …all SING.” (This page turn is particularly artful.) The instruments are appropriately presented and grouped: first strings, then brass, woodwinds, double-reed instruments, percussion, and piano. Italicized musical terms like crescendo, glissando, allegro, and spiccato are gracefully woven into the verse, then defined in a short closing glossary. The poet’s rhythm and rhyme also sing, her metaphors add richness, and alliteration makes these lines a delight to read aloud. “French horns, trumpets, tubas blow / with lips abuzzzz and great gusto!” One early misstep aside—the oboe’s tuning A is usually much longer than a “chirp”—this is a well-pitched composition. Sanchez’s gently humorous animation-style spreads suggest a 21st-century Fantasia with a chubby, White Toscanini-like conductor and a highly diverse set of instrumentalists whose playing moves the audience out of the concert hall and into a variety of settings. Even the endpapers support the theme with musical symbols and a golden trumpet. There are many other introductions-to-the-orchestra titles out there, but few have such charm.

Pleasing to the eye and ear. (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4998-1172-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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Not astonishingly go-out-and-buy-it-at-graduation inspirational, but all it takes is one seed of change to be planted.

GOING PLACES

Imagination soars—quite literally—when a little girl follows her own set of rules.

Every year Oak Hill School has a go-kart race called the Going Places contest. Students are given identical go-kart kits with a precise set of instructions. And of course, every single kart ends up exactly the same. Every one, that is, except Maya’s. Maya is a dreamy artist, and she would rather sketch birds in her backyard than get caught up in the competition. When she finally does start working, she uses the parts in the go-kart box but creates something completely different. No one ever said it had to be a go-kart. Maya’s creative thinking inspires Rafael, her neighbor (and the most enthusiastic Going Places contestant), to ask to team up. The instructions never say they couldn’t work together, either! An ode to creativity and individuality to be sure, but the Reynolds brothers are also taking a swipe at modern education: Endless repetition and following instructions without question create a culture of conformity. Hopefully now, readers will see infinite possibility every time the system hands them an identical go-kart box.

Not astonishingly go-out-and-buy-it-at-graduation inspirational, but all it takes is one seed of change to be planted. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-6608-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 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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