cover image Jamal's Busy Day

Jamal's Busy Day

Valerie Wilson Wesley, Wade Hudson, Veronica F. Ellis. Just Us Books, $12.82 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-940975-21-7

The charm of this unassuming, engaging picture book rests in the tongue-in-cheek parallels between the daily labors of parents and offspring. The youngster here is an African American only child; the adults are active, serious professionals--father is an architect, mother an accountant. In its own way, Jamal's day is as demanding as theirs: he ``works with numbers'' in math class, does ``research'' in the library, has ``meetings to attend'' in the school auditorium and occasionally settles schoolyard ``disagreements between my co-workers.'' The upbeat message is that both parents and children can ``work hard'' and accomplish much in their respective arenas: all have something to contribute and all work has value. Illustrating this sweetly didactic story are Ford's (Bright Eyes, Brown Skin ) realistic watercolors, which present a boy full of energy and excited by his truly ``busy day.'' Ages 3-7. (Nov.)