cover image Ready for the Spotlight!

Ready for the Spotlight!

Jaime Kim. Candlewick, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-5362-0518-3

Tessie, the spirited, cued–East Asian protagonist of this solo debut by Kim, has “been taking ballet for a whole month now,” and, with the confidence and naivete of youth, believes she’s the best in class—that is, except for older sister Maya, the crown-clad Lilac Fairy in The Sleeping Beauty, who “is always in the spotlight.” Maya has been taking ballet for much longer, and Mom assures the younger child that, with as much experience, she’ll shine just as bright. Still, Tessie wants to be the best now, and her jealousy only grows after auditions for the fall recital. Tessie’s voice shines with guileless determination: “Today was just not my day. My shoes were slippery. And my tutu felt so heavy. I’m sure that’s why I couldn’t keep my balance.” Bright watercolor and digital art centers mercurial Tessie’s reactions to great effect, adding wonderfully wrought physical humor to this refreshing tale of perseverance, growth, and tender sibling bonds. Ages 4–8. (Nov.)