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Jojo's Flying Side Kick
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About the Author

Brian Pinkney has illustrated numerous acclaimed books for children, including Martin Rising; In Your Hands; On the Ball; The Faithful Friend; Duke Ellington; and In the Time of the Drums. His many awards include two Caldecott Honors, a Coretta Scott King Illustration Award, four Coretta Scott King Illustration Honors, and the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award. Brian lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife and frequent collaborator, Andrea Davis Pinkney. Visit him at BrianPinkney.net. Brian Pinkney has illustrated numerous acclaimed books for children, including Martin Rising; In Your Hands; On the Ball; The Faithful Friend; Duke Ellington; and In the Time of the Drums. His many awards include two Caldecott Honors, a Coretta Scott King Illustration Award, four Coretta Scott King Illustration Honors, and the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award. Brian lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife and frequent collaborator, Andrea Davis Pinkney. Visit him at BrianPinkney.net.

Reviews

JoJo, a Tae Kwon Do white belt student, must break a board with a flying side kick in order to earn her yellow belt. She adds her worry about the test to her ever-present fear of the tree that looms ``like a creepy bandit'' in her front yard, but confides her nervousness to Granddaddy, her friend P.J. and her mother. All three offer advice drawn from their own experiences (``Visualize your technique.... That's what I do before a tennis match,'' says Mom). JoJo utilizes their suggestions as well as her own resources: visualizing the board as the creepy tree, she leaps into the air and smashes it. Energetic scratchboard and oil illustrations swirl with movement in a vivid palette of deep blues, greens and white. Pinkney renders the tree as reasonably ominous; accordingly, the late addition of a spooky face and hands to illustrate JoJo's terror is somewhat over the top. As in Pinkney's Max Found Two Sticks, the action plays out within a compressed time span, concentrating the tension. While the prose is not as taut this time, the author/artist again gets effortlessly into the mind of his protagonist. Ages 5-8. (Sept.)

PreS-Gr 2‘In order for JoJo to advance from a white to a yellow belt in Tae Kwon Do, she must break a board with a flying side kick. Little wonder she worries! Everyone offers support and advice. Granddaddy recommends that she do a little fancy footwork ``to chase away the jitters,'' the way he did before his boxing matches. Her friend advises her that, when she yells ``KIAH,'' she should make it come from deep in her stomach for greater power. Her mother advocates a winning visualization technique. When the big test comes, JoJo does all three. She dances a bit on her feet, shouts from deep inside, and visualizes a ``creepy'' tree in her own yard that has always frightened her. She successfully calls upon her own inner resources to overcome more than one fear and earns the coveted yellow belt. Pinkney's art lifts this story above the narrow realm of self-help bibliotherapy. His illustrations, executed in scratchboard and oil, excel at the depiction of movement‘whether it is the movement of a scary tree (archetype for any number of childhood fears) or the movement of a flying side kick. Children will be fascinated by the sport, by the refreshing female protagonist, and by the thrill of her accomplishment. An author's note gives more information about Tae Kwon Do. This will not be a shelf-sitter.‘Kate McClelland, Perrot Memorial Library, Greenwich, CT

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