A kiss for Akaraka

Richard Jackson, 1935-

Book - 2018

When Lula begins to get tired of helping her father rake leaves, he suggests that her imaginary friend, Akaraka, might help.

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Subjects
Genres
Picture books
Published
New York, NY : Greenwillow Books [2018]
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 24 x 27 cm
ISBN
9780062651969
006265196X
Main Author
Richard Jackson, 1935- (author)
Other Authors
E. B. Goodale (illustrator)
Review by Booklist Reviews

On a breezy fall day, Lula is helping her father rake leaves. Around them the sky swirls hypnotically in washes of cobalt and white watercolor. Grass bends in the wind, and leaves flutter up and about. It is just Lula and her pop spending time together. Or is it? Raking leaves in such a wind is hard work for two, but not for three, Pop insists, as Akaraka is helping. Lula is amused, for Akaraka is her imaginary friend—she can't sweep! And with those words, leaves rise up, puddles flow together, and clouds gather to form the shape of a girl in the air. She's there. The gentle banter between father and daughter continues as the pair goes inside, and Mama sets out a snack for Lula and Akaraka. Jackson's author bio reveals that akaraka is a word in Nigeria's Igbo language entwined with the idea of destiny. This added layer of meaning blankets the tender, intimate family story, suitable for bedtime, when children both real and imaginary are tucked in and kissed good night. Grades K-2. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

While raking leaves on a blustery day, Lula and her father talk about the girl's imaginary friend, Akaraka (an author's note credits the name to his young granddaughter's early murmurings, but notes that it is also a "meaningful word to Igbo-speaking people of southwestern Nigeria"). Daddy can't see her, but he honors what her existence says about his daughter's imagination, and so he offers a tribute ("Oh Aka oh raka, sing to us, please,/ like the wind sings"), credits her with helping "sweep" the leaves ("Hard work for two/ but a breeze for three," he says), and invites her to join the family for lunch. Lula remains firmly in control of the fantasy: she informs "silly" Daddy that while Akaraka can't sing, she would like a bowl of chocolate pudding (which Lula ultimately consumes herself). Jackson (This Beautiful Day) has created a lovely hybrid, a cross between a poem and the kind of freewheeling, allusive conversation that often unfolds between a parent and child ("‘Her name, Lula-bee. Where—?' ‘I dreamed it, Daddy.'?") Gentle ink-and-watercolor art by Goodale (Windows) lets readers observe the loving interplay between parent and child, rendering magical moments, indeed. Ages 4–8. (Sept.) Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

PreS-Gr 1—On a beautiful fall day, Lula and her father go out into the yard to rake up the leaves. It is a lot of work, so Daddy suggests that they invite Akaraka, Lula's imaginary friend, to help. This idea tickles the child and she is amused as Daddy thinks he sees Akaraka in the leaves and the clouds. When the job is done and there is a nice large pile of red and gold leaves, Daddy and Lula invite Akaraka in for a family lunch with Mama. Beautifully told and exquisitely illustrated in black ink and watercolors, this is a tender love story between a father and his daughter. The text is simple and conversational. VERDICT A sweet seasonal selection best shared one-on-one to pore over the delightful artwork.—Amy Shepherd, St. Anne's Episcopal School, Middleton, DE Copyright 2018 School Library Journal.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

When Lula begins to get tired of helping her father rake leaves, he suggests that her imaginary friend, Akaraka, might help.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

A beautiful, lyrical picture book about a father, his daughter, and her imaginary friend raking leaves on a crisp fall day.With gorgeous pictures by E. B. Goodale, the illustrator of the acclaimed Windows, this book about family, fatherhood, friendship, and imagination is perfect for story time and bedtime sharing all year round. Critically acclaimed author Richard Jackson's enchanting story about love, family, and the power of the imagination follows Lula and her daddy as they rake leaves together on a crisp autumn day. Can Daddy see Akaraka, Lula's imaginary friend? Perhaps not, but he is willing to try, much to Lula's delight.A perfect book about parenthood and childhood to share together. The poetic text is a joy to read aloud and is enhanced by E. B. Goodale's bright, enticing illustrations. Just right for fans of Kevin Henkes's In the Middle of Fall and Julia Rawlinson's Fletcher and the Falling Leaves. 

Review by Publisher Summary 3

A beautiful, lyrical picture book about a father, his daughter, and her imaginary friend raking leaves on a crisp fall day.With gorgeous pictures by E. B. Goodale, the illustrator of the acclaimed Windows, this book about family, fatherhood, friendship, and imagination is perfect for story time and bedtime sharing all year round. Critically acclaimed author Richard Jackson’s enchanting story about love, family, and the power of the imagination follows Lula and her daddy as they rake leaves together on a crisp autumn day. Can Daddy see Akaraka, Lula’s imaginary friend? Perhaps not, but he is willing to try, much to Lula’s delight.A perfect book about parenthood and childhood to share together. The poetic text is a joy to read aloud and is enhanced by E. B. Goodale’s bright, enticing illustrations. Just right for fans of Kevin Henkes’s In the Middle of Fall and Julia Rawlinson’s Fletcher and the Falling Leaves.