cover image What James Said

What James Said

Liz Rosenberg, illus. by Matt Myers. Roaring Brook/Porter, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-59643-908-5

The team behind Tyrannosaurus Dad examines how conflicts often arise from simple misunderstandings. The narrator is a primary school–aged Caucasian girl with brown hair and freckles; her friend James is an African-American boy with glasses and an openhearted smile. She stands glowering on the left side of a spread, hands on her hips. “I’m never talking to James again,” she announces. James stands on the facing page, innocently balancing books on his head. What has James done? He said, the girl has heard through the school grapevine, “that I think I am perfect.” She shuns him at school, and James, whose clowning hides sensitivity and intuition, knows something is wrong. A school art show and a blue ribbon for a picture the girl drew reveal what James actually said: “I think it’s perfect.... That’s what I tell everyone.” Phew! Rosenberg lets the characters tell their own story without moralizing, and Myers’s attention to emotion makes it easy to sympathize with them. There’s lots to talk about here. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Jenny Bent, Bent Agency. Illustrator’s agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (June)