Jamaica Louise James
  • Jamaica Louise James
  • Jamaica Louise James

Jamaica Louise James

5.0 1
by Amy Hest, Sheila White Samton
     
 

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Down in the 86th Street subway station, a plaque bears the name "Jamaica Louise James, age 8." Who is Jamaica and what did she do? Sit back and enjoy because in this peppery story, Jamaica tells you all about it. With pictures as spunky as Jamaica Louise James herself, Amy Hest's inspiring tale reveals how important just one person—even someone aged

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Overview

Down in the 86th Street subway station, a plaque bears the name "Jamaica Louise James, age 8." Who is Jamaica and what did she do? Sit back and enjoy because in this peppery story, Jamaica tells you all about it. With pictures as spunky as Jamaica Louise James herself, Amy Hest's inspiring tale reveals how important just one person—even someone aged eight—can be.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Much like Hest's 1995 How to Get Famous in Brooklyn, this good-humored if slight tale shows the effect a young artist has on her neighborhood. This time her protagonist is an eight-year-old black girl, who paints picture after picture after her mother and grandmother give her a set of paints for her birthday. Then, on her grandmother's birthday, she and her mother descend the stairs of the subway station where Grammy works in a token booth. As a surprise for her, they tape Jamaica's artwork to the walls, transforming the gloomy station into a colorful gallery that makes the once-frowning subway riders smile. Hest pulls readers into the tale by having Jamaica address them directly, with such quips as "That's me. You better believe it!" and "So now you know the whole story." In keeping with the narrative, Samton's (Oh No! A Naptime Adventure) stylized paintings are decidedly childlike, featuring bold hues and some curiously skewed perspectives. Unfortunately, neither words nor pictures do more than approximate a storyJamaica Louise James feels like a storybook character, not a real girl. Ages 5-8. (Aug.)
Children's Literature - Children's Literature
On her 8th birthday, Jamaica Louise James receives a paint set from her mother and grandmother. When Jamaica worries about the cost, they reply that instead of worrying, she could be doing something as wonderful as painting the world. This gives Jamaica the idea to plan a big surprise for her grandmother's birthday. Her grandmother works in the 86th Street Subway station, collecting tokens and every night, when she returns home, she describes all the different people she meets. As her grandmother talks, Jamaica Louise James quietly sits at the table and paints all the characters. Finally, on the morning of her grandmother's birthday, Jamaica and her mother go to the subway station before her grandmother does and they turn the Subway into an art gallery filled with Jamaica's pictures. It is a wonderful surprise, not only for her grandmother, but for all the people that ride the subway who now start talking to each other, and some even exchange a smile. The colorful and funky illustrations really echo the lively narrative.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-Jamaica Louise James, age eight, loves to paint. She also loves subways "because the seats are hot pink and because they go very fast." She does not like subway stations. There are "too many grownups who all look mad. The walls are old tile walls without any color." Jamaica's grandmother works in a token booth and when the woman comes home she talks about the people she's seen while Jamaica paints and Mama reads. Every day the girl adds a picture to her collection and every day she thinks about her cool idea. On the morning of Grammy's birthday, Jamaica and her Mama go down to the subway station and hang the child's pictures on the walls. Grammy and all of her customers are delighted with the results. Samton's bright, cheerful, bold illustrations rendered in acrylic, gouache, and watercolor are a perfect complement to Hest's text. Jamaica's artwork is distinctively childlike. Large typeface will be appealing to beginning readers. This is an attractive depiction of a hip, single-parent, African-American family who share a lot of fun and love. Although children who like to paint or draw will certainly be inspired by Jamaica Louise James, the book will also appeal to a wide audience of independent thinkers.-Olga Kuharets, Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County, NC

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780763602840
Publisher:
Candlewick Press
Publication date:
09/28/1997
Edition description:
REPRINT
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
1,311,323
Product dimensions:
9.16(w) x 9.89(h) x 0.14(d)
Lexile:
590L (what's this?)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

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