Aimed at adults rather than children.

THE SAD LITTLE FACT

A colorful fable about facts and fake news.

Winter and Oswald try to take on the current scourge of fake news, presenting the titular “sad little fact” as a circular blue splotch with skinny limbs and bewildered eyes. “No one took the fact seriously,” intones the text as various multicolored shapes ignore the fact. The Authorities, tall, menacing, and depicted in black from the waist down, “demanded that the sad little fact admit that it was not a fact.” The fact is buried underground with its peers even as “a bunch of lies created by the Authorities were taking over the world outside the box.” Only “a hardy band of fact finders,” depicted with miners’ hats and shovels, fights back, digging into the earth and letting the facts (“The Earth revolves around the sun!” “And people are causing the Earth to get warmer!”) out into the light. The facts themselves are cute, but this doesn’t quite work as a parable or as a picture book. The story jerks around confusingly with unpolished prose. Constant repetition of the word “fact” puts readers at risk of lexical satiation. Propaganda and manipulation of the truth are ancient problems, but this story feels like a dashed-off response to current events rather than a deeply considered philosophy; the underlying message is likely to fly over the heads of young readers while being too simplistic for older audiences.

Aimed at adults rather than children. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-58179-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 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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