Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy. Jan. 2022. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781534454873.
K-Gr 2–Africa, a young girl with a “birthmark in the shape of her name” is going to show the world what she is made of in the upcoming double Dutch competition. Maybe she has never double Dutched before, but her grandmother was one of the best and Africa feels certain she can, too. However, after trying to learn by herself, Africa quickly realizes that she needs the help of others. Enlisting her friends she learns how to jive, step, sing, move her hands, and somersault, all the skills she will need to double Dutch. When the day of the competition arrives, Africa is sure that this is the day she will “double Dutch to the sky.” Beautifully written, with illustrations to savor, this is a story that will empower and inspire young readers. Simple and patterned text will pull readers along as Africa learns each new skill. Use of simile and personification complement the imagery created in the illustrations. Saturated earth tones and light blues in the backdrop of most spreads give readers a sense of open space and freedom. The rosy-cheeked children add a sense of playfulness to each page, emphasizing the happiness of each scene. At the heart of this story, however, is Africa’s birthmark, a reminder to herself and all readers of the connection we have to the people who come before us and how they often shape who we become.
VERDICT A strong purchase for most collections, this is a story with a powerful message, quietly shared in stunning illustrations and engaging text.

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