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Formats
Hardcover Details
  • 11/2020
  • 978-0578752211 0578752212
  • 36 pages
  • $17.99
Fabian Ferguson
Author
Jackie Wins Them All

Picture Book; General Fiction (including literary and historical); (Market)

Jackie Wins Them All is a children’s coming-of-age picture book written by Fabian Ferguson and illustrated by Alisa Aryutova. Jackie J. Spade is a gifted sixth grader. She’s won every contest she's ever entered. Whether it’s academics or athletics, Jackie seems to have inexhaustible talent, skills, and strengths. She’s won science fairs and spelling bees, and is a top contender at just about every sport she’s ever tried. But can she win this race? Everybody in her middle school is excited and talking about the race. It has to be Jackie’s, right? After all, she wins everything.
Reviews
The exuberant Jackie J. Spade in Ferguson’s debut picture book is a young but seasoned competitor who, so far, has only experienced victory. Jackie’s an all-around over-achiever: an exemplary athlete in multiple sports who’s also taken first prize at science fairs and a spelling bee, and even won a chess match against a college student. Now, expecting to add another first place medal to her trophy case, the Albany Middle School sixth-grader will run the 200-meter race in a city-wide competition. The book’s title is both a confident declaration and a hint that, this time, things may be different.

Ferguson celebrates Jackie’s accomplishments with an infectious enthusiasm that encourages readers (especially Black girls) to identify with the protagonist and feel like winners. Illustrator Alisa Aryutova has made Jackie a joyous dynamo with endearing geek-chic aplomb. But Ferguson’s point about good sportsmanship (“Work hard, give your best, and do all you can do./That’s what matters most, and this Jackie knew!”) is somewhat blunted by only appearing at the story’s conclusion. An earlier glimpse of Jackie’s healthy attitude toward competition would show young readers how she’s able to recover from a painful disappointment and quickly get herself back on the right track.

Aryutova’s energetic illustrations are vivid color blocks with bold lines and textures, and she employs glowing gold on every page (including the end papers) in a nod to Jackie’s shiny trophies. The most emotional drawing is a textless spread that shows a hunched-over Jackie expressing in body language what her mind cannot yet process. With this pause in the narration, Jackie Wins Them All offers emotional catharsis by showing a successful athlete facing an upset. It will resonate with young readers ready to challenge themselves, reminding them that good sportsmanship--and always putting your best foot forward-- keeps them in the race.

Takeaway: Young readers will be inspired by this lively achiever who’s reminded that winning isn’t guaranteed.

Great for fans of: Brian Pinkney’s JoJo’s Flying Side Kick, Sharon Bell Mathis’s Running Girl: The Diary of Ebonee Rose, Addie Boswell’s The Rain Stomper.

Production grades
Cover: B+
Design and typography: B+
Illustrations: A
Editing: B-
Marketing copy: C+

Kirkus Reviews

A worthwhile fable for sporty, ambitious young readers.

Formats
Hardcover Details
  • 11/2020
  • 978-0578752211 0578752212
  • 36 pages
  • $17.99

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