Reviews for Around Our Way on Neighbors' Day

Booklist Reviews 2010 July #1
As an African American girl bounces around her urban neighborhood celebrating Neighbors' Day, when everyone comes together for celebration and community bonding, she shares her energetic and enthusiastic observations: Blue sky, no clouds, / Summer heat, side street, / Whirling, whizzing feet. / Everyone is out to play / Today, around our way. She is happily surrounded by a multicultural crowd playing double Dutch and basketball, eating ice cream and drinking sour lemonade, debating in the barber shop, and playing chess in the park; and as the day and the block party progress, there is more food, music, laughter, and friendship. The acrylic art is saturated with rich color, energetic movement, and abstract figures and shapes, all reminiscent of Jacob Lawrence's art. Most scenes are double-page spreads that, together with the words, demonstrate the size and diversity of a joyful world. Copyright 2010 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2011 Spring
An African American girl moving about her neighborhood describes her excitement leading up to the evening's block party, which culminates in an outdoor dance party: "Hustle...bustle...salsa sway, / Wild day, around our way." The unpredictable rhymes keeps readers on their toes--and keep those toes tapping. The mural-like acrylics full of loose-limbed celebrants are a little rough around the edges. Copyright 2011 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2010 July #2
"Blue sky, no clouds, / Summer heat, side street, / Whirling, whizzing feet. / Everyone is out to play / Today, around our way." It's a sunny, summer day—perfect for a block party. A pig-tailed protagonist heads home after double Dutch and dancing to help Momma cook. On her way she encounters some familiar sights: Grandpop at the barber's, Raven painting a mural, a ball game at the center. In this lively and accessible poem, a multicultural community brings food, music and laughter to the streets to celebrate their neighborhood. Expressionist-inspired acrylics in an earthy palette strive to reflect the diversity of Brown's characters. Unfortunately, Riley-Webb's inconsistent use of lines to both define form and indicate motion creates a muddied result. Multiple perspectives are often attempted, but the discrepancies in the way brushstrokes are applied makes the work look flat and disjointed. A stronger choice for celebrating city summers and community is Ruth Forman's Young Cornrows Callin Out the Moon, illustrated by Cbabi Bayoc (2007). (Picture book. 4-7) Copyright Kirkus 2010 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Reviews 2010 November

Gr 1-3--Similar in variety of activities to Lee Bennett Hopkins's City I Love (Abrams, 2009), and similar in tone to Barbara Joosse's Hot City (Philomel, 2004), this story introduces a young narrator who seems to have covered every inch of her diverse urban block, celebrating a special day with her neighbors and relatives, dancing, double-Dutch jumping, snacking, and having fun in her own backyard. Full-bleed spreads in hot summer colors show the vibrant neighborhood as it pulsates with life. The book's lively illustrations and energetic main character lead readers to think about their own neighborhood, and the kind acts and community spirit that make good neighbors. This story in verse is sure to receive a warm welcome, and it might inspire youngsters to institute their own "Neighbors' Day."--Sarah Provence, Churchill Road Elementary School, McLean, VA

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