Review of Hello, Jimmy!

Hello, Jimmy!
by Anna Walker; illus. by the author
Primary    Clarion    40 pp.    g
2/21    978-0-358-19358-6    $17.99
e-book ed.  978-0-358-36090-2    $12.99

Jack doesn’t live with his dad full time, and lately when he stays with him, the house seems especially quiet. Although the text never uses the word depressed, this seems an apt description of Dad’s state at the beginning of this story, which explores a wide range of emotions through expressive art. Then a green parrot named Jimmy appears on the doorstep during a storm. The bird’s presence immediately enlivens the interior scenes of Dad’s home with bursts of color and energy. Dad gets a kick out of Jimmy, but Jack feels jealous, and he’s annoyed by the parrot’s antics. A dreamscape, notable for how much busier and more vibrant it is than previous spreads, shows Jack’s bedroom overrun by birds, which he dispatches by opening a window. When Jack awakens, the window actually is open, and a bright green feather rests on the sill. Without waking his dad, Jack puts on a red hoodie (à la Little Red Riding Hood) and ventures out into the rain to search for Jimmy. He doesn’t encounter any wolves, but he seems lost and hopeless in an affecting image where his small form huddles at the base of a tree. Then across the spread strides Dad, umbrella aloft. The page-turn shows Dad wrapping Jack in an embrace, and closing scenes offer a hopeful portrayal of how Jimmy has changed their lives and how he might surprise them again.

From the May/June 2021 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Megan Dowd Lambert
Megan Dowd Lambert

Megan Dowd Lambert is an instructor at Simmons University’s Center for the Study of Children’s Literature. For nearly ten years she also worked in the education department of the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art.

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