cover image Jump In!

Jump In!

Shadra Strickland. Bloomsbury, $18.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-61963-580-7

Vibrantly rendered and warmly welcoming, this solo debut from Strickland (Loving vs. Virginia) portrays a lively metropolitan community engaging in a lengthy game of double Dutch. On a warm day shown in textural digital art that’s full of light and movement, a group of children with various skin tones gathers on a neighborhood blacktop: “Two becomes four. Four more is eight./ Rock back-and-forth. Don’t hesitate.” As a reiterative “Jump in!” invites the next person in, fittingly metered, rhyming text describes each participant’s jumping style. A joyful bird’s-eye view captures the wide smiles of “Double Dutch divas” the Delancy twins. A page turn later, Leroy Jones sinks a basketball from mid-court before showing off hip-hop moves, flames emanating from sneakers. Soon, “Hold up! Is that Ms. Mable jumpin’ in?” sees the elder tossing her purse (“I could teach you a few things about jumpin’ in!”), and entering the rhythmic game with a “funky wiggle” that proves long-lived. There’s no resisting the ropes’ pitter-patter, and as the day stretches out, the ever-changing game invites more people in. It’s a celebration of intergenerational community and play whose turns spotlight the strengths of both individuals and an inclusive, supportive, tight-knit community. Ages 4–8. Agent: Lori Nowicki, Painted Words. (Jan.)