Jonathan and His Mommyby Irene Smalls, Michael Hays, Arene Smalls
As a mother and son explore their neighborhood, they try various ways of walkingfrom giant steps and reggae steps to criss cross steps and backwards steps.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyFar be it from this African American youngster and his mother to saunter down the street just any old way. They first ``zig-zag walk''and then take ``big giant steps and talk in loud giant voices''; sometimes they glide along in ``slow-motion steps,'' discussing ``molasses and birthdays and how long they take.'' This playful ritual shows a tender, affectionate mother-son relationship, made all the more fun by the parent's willingness to join in this original perambulation. Hays's ( Abiyoyo ) soft pastels capture the sights and feeling of urban life as the two pass stores, a park's fountain and graffiti-covered walls, pausing to dance by a building stoop. Smalls-Hector's ( Irene and the Big, Fine Nickel ) lively, melodious language gives a joyful sense of this shared experience; particularly inventive is the manner in which the protagonists' conversational gambits match their gait of the moment. Mothers and offspring alike will delight in the final picture, as down the street these characters meander, appropriately taking ``Jonathan-and-Mommy steps'' toward home. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)
School Library JournalPreS-K-- A young black child and his mother take a walk around their urban neighborhood, turning the trip into a game as they go. Zigzagging, giant-stepping, hip-hopping, racing, and then in slow motion, they wander through the streets and parks. Ballet, crazy crisscross, and reggae finally give way to backward steps to the places they've been until, tired and happy, they take ``Jonathan-and-Mommy steps'' all the way home. The blank-verse text with repetition and rich imagery beautifully creates the sound and rhythm of the commonplace experience. Soft-toned double-page spreads portray an urban panorama that is at once realistic, nonthreatening, and filled with the movement of the imaginative play. The gray cityscape is softened with muted blues, brick reds, and variegated greens, all reflected in the woman's patterned dress and the chalk rainbow drawn by children in the street. The bond between mother and child is evident on every page, making this a great book for one-on-one sharing; the generous visual scope and delightful cadence also make it a wonderful group read-aloud.-- Marie Orlando, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY
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