A delightfully illustrated, one-of-a-kind Greenfield creation that will have readers wishing for another.

ALAINA AND THE GREAT PLAY

A day in the life of an aspiring young thespian.

Alaina, a little Black girl with long locs and a missing front tooth, awakens to her mother’s original Alaina-wake-up song. Immediately excited, she can’t wait for the second grade school play, which prompts her to jump up and down on her bed—until a look from Mom says, “stop that right now.” Alaina hurriedly prepares for her day. Though only a kindergartner, Alaina will say the last five words of the play, which she practices as her mom walks her to school through their urban neighborhood. After lunch, Miss Wheeler gathers everyone for the performance, and Alaina recites her lines again for the teacher. During the production, Alaina marvels at how realistically the second graders act out the emotions of their college-age characters. When the play ends, Alaina’s drab lines seem dull in comparison to the fabulous acting…so she improvises. Greenfield portrays a close and loving relationship between this Black mother and daughter—but one in which Alaina understands her boundaries and tests them but ultimately honors them. Bootman’s full-color, double-page illustrations, a bit hazily dreamlike and done with broad swaths of bold, bright colors, immerse readers in this child’s home and school life while highlighting Alaina’s excited face, mischief, and all-in personality.

A delightfully illustrated, one-of-a-kind Greenfield creation that will have readers wishing for another. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 10, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-7336865-2-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Alazar Press

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 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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An early reader that kids will want to befriend.

NOT ME!

In an odd-couple pairing of Bear and Chipmunk, only one friend is truly happy to spend the day at the beach.

“Not me!” is poor Chipmunk’s lament each time Bear expresses the pleasure he takes in sunning, swimming, and other activities at the beach. While controlled, repetitive text makes the story accessible to new readers, slapstick humor characterizes the busy watercolor-and-ink illustrations and adds interest. Poor Chipmunk is pinched by a crab, buried in sand, and swept upside down into the water, to name just a few mishaps. Although other animal beachgoers seem to notice Chipmunk’s distress, Bear cheerily goes about his day and seems blithely ignorant of his friend’s misfortunes. The playful tone of the illustrations helps soften the dynamic so that it doesn’t seem as though Chipmunk is in grave danger or that Bear is cruel. As they leave at the end of the book Bear finally asks, “Why did you come?” and Chipmunk’s sweet response caps off the day with a warm sunset in the background.

An early reader that kids will want to befriend. (Early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3546-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015

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