More evocative in their use of language than many other board books, this quartet traces small moments in the life of Joshua, an African American boy. He dons slicker and galoshes in the first book to parade joyfully ``jumping, hopping,/ all in yellow/ through puddles with rain feet.'' Even here-the first book is the simplest of the four-Johnson's imagery stands out, as the raindrops ``Plop! On the steps'' and ``Splash! On the street.'' In subsequent titles, Joshua and his sister observe nesting birds; a familial seaside idyll finds the lad ``running free''; and nocturnal sounds trouble his sleep, but all becomes right once ``Daddy's holding me warm and safe.'' Mitchell's softly rendered watercolors, too, often transcend the genre's typically straightforward illustrative style. Her occasional close-ups of faces bring a loving family into clear focus (Joshua's smiling, upturned countenance in Rain is especially endearing), while portrayals of rain-slicked streets, expansive beaches and a trio of hungry birds subtly impart an appreciation of nature. Ages 1-3. (Sept.)
School Library Journal
PreS-These titles are characteristic of Johnson's earlier books in their emphasis on warm, loving relationships in an African American family. In Joshua by the Sea, a young boy enjoys a day at the beach with his family; in Joshua's Night Whispers, he seeks comfort from his father when he wakes up in the middle of the night; in Mama Bird, the child discovers a nest of baby birds with his sister; and in Rain Feet he splashes through puddles in a yellow slicker and boots. The pastel watercolor illustrations that fill each double-page spread are cozy and soothing, and the language is rhythmic and quietly reassuring. Solid choices to enhance any board-book collection.-Emily Kutler, Summit Free Public Library, NJ
Angela Johnson was born in Tuskegee, Alabama, but raised in Windham, Ohio; the only girl in a family of five. She now lives in Northeastern Ohio in a hundred year old house full of plants. When not writing she travels. On one of her trips to the California desert the inspiration for her first novel, Toning the Sweep came about.