Hey, this book is about much more than a boy jumping off the high dive. This picture book is about writing—or singing, or tap dancing, or public speaking, or putting yourself out there to get critiqued and possibly fail. It's about fear, and the process it takes to overcome it.
I love when a picture book has a subtle seed of wisdom that grows with you as you read it again and again. This book doesn't blatantly preach about overcoming your fears. It explores fear in simple universal terms that readers can identify with and apply to their own lives and situations.
I completely identify with that first time jumping off the high dive, but as I read this book, I can apply it to so many other defining moments—specifically ones I've experienced at critique groups, writing workshops and conferences.
This book really builds by using perspective in its illustrations and keeping the words simple and universal. As Cornwall crafts her story, we can all identify what it feels like for Jabari to climb that ladder, curl his toes around the end of the board, and jump. It's a metaphor for anything that we strive to accomplish in life, the act of putting yourself out there and taking the plunge.
The cool blues of the water, the soft tones of the pool surroundings, and the subtle word-collage cityscape in the background... It would have been a very different vibe if the setting was scary or foreboding, but this book's sceneries are actually serene, inviting, and fun. The view from the top is spectacular and powerful; as a reader you understand and empathize with Jabari's apprehension, but you enjoy the beauty of the view.
I love the use of Jabari's internal dialogue as he preps to take the leap, and I particularly like the spread where he stalls by needing to do his stretches. I completely relate to his procrastination tactics—stretching, getting coffee, rearranging paperwork, blogging.
This book also hits that 32-page format and 500-ish word-count sweet spot, so it's a good example to study and add to your library.
Enjoy the SPLASH!