My Cold Plum Lemon Pie Bluesy Mood

Tameka Fryer Brown, illus. by Shane W. Evans. Viking, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-670-01285-5
Writing in engaging free verse, Brown (Around Our Way on Neighbors’ Day) follows the emotions of a boy named Jamie as he juggles his own pleasures with the demands of his family. As the title suggests, his moods are linked metaphorically to colors and foods. When his older brothers take over the sofa with their video game, Jamie’s mood changes from a “Grape-juice drinking/ On the couch/ Bobbing to the beat kind of mood” to a “gray kind of place/ Storm brewing inside/ That I hide/ ’Cause I don’t want any trouble space.” Evans (We March) develops Jamie’s character with care and attention, painting him singing into a homemade tennis-ball-and-toilet-paper-tube microphone, then streaking home from a basketball game to make it home by dark. It’s valuable both for its believable exposition of Jamie’s interior world and for its warm portrait of the life of a nonwhite family in which sharing is essential, rules are followed, conflicts are resolved, and meals (“Curry chicken!/ That’s my piece!”) are enjoyed together. Ages 4–up. Author’s agent: Jennifer Rofé, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. Illustrator’s agent: Rebecca Sherman, Writers House. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/11/2013
Release date: 03/07/2013
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