A simple tale of building a friendship and good memories using few words and luminous artwork.

WORDS TO MAKE A FRIEND

A STORY IN JAPANESE AND ENGLISH

A day in the snow for two kids in two languages.

Readers might be tempted to flip past the frontmatter to the start of the story. But take time to linger over the evocative endpapers that show a big yellow moving truck parked outside a blue and white house in a snowy landscape. An adult and a child, both with pale skin and black hair, are standing on the porch, about to open the door. Turn the page, and there is another adult-and-child pair, both with brown skin and dark hair, bringing their new neighbors a gift of food. Like many friendships, this story builds slowly, one interaction at a time, urging readers to savor each moment. The first child speaks Japanese and the second, English; yet their intent and interactions are seemingly understood, facilitated by snowy-day play and bilingual conversation. Eventually the cold pushes them inside to enjoy Japanese tea, a treat, and origami. Stoop’s captivating mixed-media illustrations depict dramatic perspectives even in the kids’ first meeting, their bold, bright figures striking against a pastel snowy scene. Napoli’s spare text trusts primarily English-speaking readers to derive sufficient meaning from the bilingual spreads while lacking the scaffolding to facilitate deeper cultural comprehension for both kids. Notes from author and illustrator each offer depth and background as well as insight into their artistic partnership.

A simple tale of building a friendship and good memories using few words and luminous artwork. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12227-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House Studio

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021

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

TWINKLE TWINKLE LITTLE KID

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

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