Playing jump rope all day is something that Shameka and her friends love to do, yet when mean Miss Minnie begins her protest over the noise, Shameka must find a way to keep the peace in the neighborhood. By the Caldecott Medalwinning artist of Smoky Night.
This was one of my favorite picture books throughout elementary school. I loved jump roping by myself and with friends and this book fit perfectly with my love for jump roping being all about jump rope magic!
When my son was little, this was one of his favorite books. He would ask me to read it to him night after night...which is a little surprising because the main character is a girl and he didn't gravitate toward girl characters all that much.
I am sure the reason he enjoyed it so much was the prose. Perfectly written in traditional jump rope meter, you can't help but inject a bit of energy and jive into the reading.
While the story captures a very typical childhood scenario: mean old lady everyone is afraid of, it's the wordplay that makes this book so special (at least, to my son).
Capturing the feel of an urban neighborhood, some children will identify with the familiarity of the scene while others will be exposed to an important new world.
Typical happy ending and lesson learned made less typical with a magical touch.
My 4 year old gal loves this book. The language is fun, the cadence is clever and the story is sweet. An urban group of jump ropers always scared off by the grumpy old lady find a hero in Shameka who connects with Ms. Minnie. Ms. Minnie passes on but not before she shares a connection with Shameka who knows works her jump rope magic in the memory of Ms. Minnie. I love the visualization in the poetry and the fantasy in David Diaz's art (he has such a great character inflection in his work). I wish I could find more books that played with language and poetry like this for children.
I bought this one at the Friends of the Library Sale for 15 cents. I wanted to have some more jumping rhymes and chants in the collection, but I was really drawn to the illustrations of David Diaz here. This one would be fun for a read-aloud before recess time. Here is an extension to poetry performance that comes natural to younger students. An opportunity, to be sure, to introduce more traditional rhymes for these young people.