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Reviewed by:
  • Kicks by Van G. Garrett
  • Kate Quealy-Gainer, Editor
Garrett, Van G. Kicks; illus. by Reggie Brown. Versify/HarperCollins, 2022 [32p]
Trade ed. ISBN 9780358118107 $17.99
E-book ed. ISBN 9780358574279 $12.99
Reviewed from digital galleys R 4-7 yrs

From the stacks of shoeboxes in his bedroom to the overstuffed jar labeled “Joshua’s shoe money,” the opening pages of this picture book make it clear our narrator has a deep love for kicks—with conditions: “New kicks should be legit. Not busted, hard, or old. Magic for your soles and soul.” Viewers follow Joshua as he purchases a styling pair of purple sneakers then swaggers though town, extolling the virtues of a good pair of steps and the variety of styles: “Heat for your feet, gloves for your toes. So many styles and forms. Detailed art: swirls, loops, and patterns.” Crisp digital art highlights the urban milieu of Joshua’s neighborhood along with engaging scenes of all the uses he puts his new kicks to (skateboarding, hopscotching, even moonwalking), while a flashy palette matches his easy confidence. A sauntering rhythm and clever alliteration keep the text from becoming too much like a list, and Joshua’s voice has a charming balance of enthusiasm and pride. Pair this with Boelts’ Those Shoes (BCCB 12/07) for a storytime appreciative of some jazzy footwear.

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