“Why worry?” Because the potentially lethal events depicted warrant it.

WHY WORRY?

A pair of friendly insects experiences a series of worrisome events, but each has radically different reactions.

Although Grasshopper thinks it is “a fine day,” her neighbor Cricket has a bad feeling about it. Indeed, as he makes his way over for tea, a crow captures the two friends. Cricket frets, declaring vindication, although Grasshopper persistently assures him that “everything will turn out all right.” She gets them out of the bird’s clutches, but they tumble from one metaphoric pickle into another, relying on luck for the rest of the adventure until they serendipitously return home. Once, Grasshopper shows a sensitive acknowledgement of Cricket’s fears, when she wraps her arms around Cricket while he cries. The rest of the time, she dismisses his concerns and concentrates on the fun she’s having. Cricket’s worries prove monumentally prescient, and Grasshopper’s reassurances come across as uncaring placations. The backmatter essay on “Children and Worry” by two psychotherapists, intended for adult readers, explores why children (of an undefined age) may experience worry and offers a bulleted list of suggestions with sample dialogue. However, the life events they suggest that may provoke worry (conflict, bullying, divorce, bereavement), while grave, don’t have the same stakes as the life-threatening events the story characters face. The soft edges of the pastel-hued illustrations recall fuzzy felt. Their bright cheeriness tempers the scary events of the story and matches the pedantic tone. Large type and a fair amount of negative space make for appealing layouts.

“Why worry?” Because the potentially lethal events depicted warrant it. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5132-6200-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: West Margin Press

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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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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