The Hula-Hoopin' Queen
By School Library Journal
Kameeka’s goal is clear from the opening paragraph: she plans to beat the neighborhood competition and become the Hula-Hoopin’ Queen of 139th Street—today. Unfortunately, Mama has other plans. There is cleaning to do and baking in preparation for Miz Adeline’s birthday party later in the afternoon. The still hopeful bundle of energy polishes until she can see “clear to New Jersey” through the sparkling windows, but her inability to sustain focus results in a ruined cake. The child’s opportunity to remedy the situation with a trip to the store for more sugar does not end well either; the taunts from the reigning queen prove irresistible. Luckily the revered party guest has the hoopin’ itch too—as does her childhood competitor, so there are dueling pairs as the party spills out into the street. In a flash of inspiration, Kameeka turns a chocolate doughnut into a birthday-worthy dessert for her beloved neighbor. Brantley-Newton’s breezy, effervescent figures, undulating against a ‘70s decor, are a spirited match for Godin’s text delivered with pitch-perfect attitude. The hand drawn, digitally colored compositions include collage elements to depict brick exteriors, torn posters, and homages to famous paintings, a decision that adds depth and verisimilitude to the urban scenes. These feisty characters, find loving ways to honor and forgive one another—while having a blast—will give pleasure across generations. Warning: this itch is contagious!