The talking crafted toys hold considerable child appeal.

FORKY IN CRAFT BUDDY DAY

Bonnie so loves her homemade toy, Forky, teacher Miss Wendy holds a Craft Your Own Buddy Day so everyone can create a special toy from found or recycled materials.

After the children finish their projects, they leave for recess—and the newly created toys come to life. Lovable Forky is excited to have new friends to play with, but he rapidly realizes the new toys have serious existential concerns. Juice Box Robot wants someone to drink from him. Miss Paper Plate and Paper Bag Puppet are looking for food to hold. Bubble Wrap Woman begins obsessively popping herself. Everyone is feeling out of their comfort zone, arguing and yelling, so Forky takes charge before the children return and wisely explains that to be a toy, made with a child’s love and imagination, is now “the best thing to be.” The cartoon drawings emulate a child’s artistic hand, while a dual narrative that combines traditional prose text with speech bubbles moves the story along. In this companion to Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story 4 (readers familiar with the franchise will recognize some of the faces in the background), Daywalt reiterates the series’ message that toys and their owners love one other. However, the underlying theme of creativity with the simplest of materials will resonate as well. Bonnie presents white, and she has racially diverse classmates.

The talking crafted toys hold considerable child appeal. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4847-9958-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney Press

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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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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