Exciting, heartwarming, and wise—this truly will resonate with a range of ages.

THE WIND MAY BLOW

As potential challenges are depicted, an offstage parent offers a child loving messages of mindfulness and empowerment.

Is this another sentimental book with singsong couplets published mainly for presentation at baby showers and graduation? No! Imaginatively shaped pages and clever die cuts that highlight important images (the sun; the child’s constant canine companion) or words (breathe, will rise again) ensure child appeal. The rhymes please and surprise, as they occur irregularly: sometimes internally, at others, at the end of phrases. The brown-skinned child protagonist is at first swaddled in red baby blankets, then in a similarly colored hoodie—thus, gender is indeterminate, allowing for universal identification while drawing comparisons to two of children’s literature’s iconic characters. The palette shifts from warm and sunny to the dramatic blues and purples of a nocturnal tempest illuminated by lightning as a storm tosses and splinters the child’s raft. The tense has changed from a reflective past to an imagined present or future, with calming assurances: “know that… / you are strong enough. / …you are smart enough. / … you have all you need / to make it through.” As timber is transformed into a shelter for the dog and protagonist, the narrative suggests that both structure and child are “as something new.” From the shimmering foil of the jacket to the contrasting endpapers, this picture book packs substance and style into its compact format.

Exciting, heartwarming, and wise—this truly will resonate with a range of ages. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-680-10268-0

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

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A straightforward, effective approach to helping children cope with one of life’s commonplace yet emotionally fraught...

WHAT DO YOU DO WITH A PROBLEM?

A child struggles with the worry and anxiety that come with an unexpected problem.

In a wonderful balance of text and pictures, the team responsible for What Do You Do With an Idea (2014) returns with another book inspiring children to feel good about themselves. A child frets about a problem that won’t go away: “I wished it would just disappear. I tried everything I could to hide from it. I even found ways to disguise myself. But it still found me.” The spare, direct narrative is accompanied by soft gray illustrations in pencil and watercolor. The sepia-toned figure of the child is set apart from the background and surrounded by lots of white space, visually isolating the problem, which is depicted as a purple storm cloud looming overhead. Color is added bit by bit as the storm cloud grows and its color becomes more saturated. With a backpack and umbrella, the child tries to escape the problem while the storm swirls, awash with compass points scattered across the pages. The pages brighten into splashes of yellow as the child decides to tackle the problem head-on and finds that it holds promise for unlooked-for opportunity.

A straightforward, effective approach to helping children cope with one of life’s commonplace yet emotionally fraught situations, this belongs on the shelf alongside Molly Bang’s Sophie books. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-943-20000-9

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2016

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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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