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Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Hands Up! Written by Breanna J. McDaniel and illustrated by Shane W. Evans. Dial Books for Young Readers, Penguin Random House. 2018. $23.99 ages 4 and up

"Ready for takeoff,
hands up!

"Please pick me, Ms.B!
Got my hands up!"

Adventure books live
up top. Reach high,
tippy toes, hands up!

Graceful like Ms. Misty.
Fifth position, hands up."

In her debut picture book, Breanna McDaniel looks at the many ways children raise their hands for very specific purpose. The sun rises as do the hands of a little girl, joyous as another day begins. Turn the page and the parents take a quick 'peek' at her, helping her get dressed when she puts her hands up again. High hands are needed to reach for a glass of morning milk. OOPS! Now, hands reach up for a damp cloth to clean the spill.

As the day passes, each ensuing scene portrays another way that 'hands up' make life better.  In class, stretching for a library book, practicing dance, riding her bike, even being helped up after that bike crashes. Then, there's music, a basketball win, and helping out.  It doesn't end there either - I will leave you to discover the collaborative final scene on your own.

Shane Evans' mixed-media images shine with bold color, lively expression, and gorgeous textures. Brimming with charm and a positive outlook no matter the day's highs and lows, children will see themselves in many of the familiar scenes. Love and resilience is at its heart, and readers will come away from the story with a sense of the strength felt in community.

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