"My father and Grandfather told very funny stories when I was a child."

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These titles are characteristic of Johnson's earlier books in their emphasis on warm, loving relationships in an African American family. In Joshua by the Sea, a young boy enjoys a day at the beach with his family; in Joshua's Night Whispers, he seeks comfort from his father when he wakes up in the middle of the night; in Mama Bird, the child discovers a nest of baby birds with his sister; and in Rain Feet he splashes through puddles in a yellow slicker and boots. The pastel watercolor illustrations that fill each double-page spread are cozy and soothing, and the language is rhythmic and quietly reassuring. ...
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