Following introductions to Amelia Earhart and Abraham Lincoln, this third title in the set introduces an iconic figure in the civil rights movement.
In a straightforward fictionalized narration, Parks tells her story. She gives examples of segregation and bullying in her early life, describes the incident that led to her work for the NAACP and the resistance that led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955-56. “The only tired I was, was tired of giving in,” she remarks. The book makes a point of contrasting her small size with her great determination. In the cartoon illustrations, Parks has the round head of Charlie Brown; sometimes she even shares his rueful expression. As with other heroes in the series, she remains child-sized throughout the book, which has the effect of infantilizing her. In one particularly unfortunate illustration, she and an equally child-sized Martin Luther King have an imagined conversation, depicted in speech bubbles, in front of an integrated classroom full of students prayerfully reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. The small, square format seems designed for young hands, and the approach may be most appropriate for preschoolers. The thriller-writer–turned–author-for-children has provided no documentation, sourcing or suggestions for further exploration of this history, but two pages of photographs (not seen) follow the account.
A barely serviceable introduction with far more child appeal than substance. (Picture book/biography. 3-7)