SAMUEL TODD'S BOOK OF GREAT COLORS

In her first picture book, the author of the longest-titled Newbery Award and Newbery Honor books (both 1967) puts a cheerful new spin on a tried, and-true topic. All the rainbow colors are here, plus five others, but not in the usual order. Konigsburg begins with a four. page celebration of orange, dropping ideas to intrigue young minds ("a pumpkin is all orange, but not all orange is a pumpkin") and suggesting connections (the speckles on bananas "are brown like freckles"). And there's a nicely muted message here, climaxed by a row of kids in different sizes and colors, their faces a lot more similar in hue than their bright suspenders. Konigsburg is not a great artist, but she's a grand wordsmith, and her attractive illustrations suit her text perfectly. A useful, mildly provocative concept book.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1990

ISBN: 0689832184

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 1990

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Depicting societally marginalized human bodies in all their joyful, normal glory, this book is cool.

BODIES ARE COOL

A bustling celebration of body positivity that lovingly features bodies, skin, and hair of all kinds.

“Big bodies, small bodies / dancing, playing, happy bodies! / Look at all these different bodies! / Bodies are cool!” begins this engaging picture book, extolling the variety and splendor of human bodies in gentle, singsong text. With shared public spaces as the backdrop of her full-bleed spreads—and a refreshing lack of fanfare—author/illustrator Feder depicts people of many races, genders, disabilities, and physical attributes enjoying one another’s company, emphasizing connection rather than explanation. Whether riding a crowded bus, painting a community mural, or playing in a public park, no individual’s body is on particular display. Instead, young readers are able to people-watch through the pages, observing difference within the context of community. Most notably, Feder chooses clear and unapologetic language to describe body characteristics, challenging the negative connotations that are often attached to those bodies. Though the illustrations are a bit jam-packed, their richness and detail easily make up for the busy feel. Perfect for read-alouds, this offering shows young readers that vitiligo, assistive equipment, scars (including those denoting gender transition), fatness, dark skin, and textured hair (among many other features) all belong. Expanding visually beyond her celebration of the body, Feder also takes care to include queer families and characters wearing headscarves and turbans as well.

Depicting societally marginalized human bodies in all their joyful, normal glory, this book is cool. (Picture book. 3-10)

Pub Date: June 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-11262-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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A substantive and affirming addition to any collection.

THE ABCS OF BLACK HISTORY

An impressive array of names, events, and concepts from Black history are introduced in this alphabet book for early-elementary readers.

From A for anthem (“a banner of song / that wraps us in hope, lets us know we belong”) to Z for zenith (“the top of that mountain King said we would reach”), this picture book is a journey through episodes, ideas, and personalities that represent a wide range of Black experiences. Some spreads celebrate readers themselves, like B for beautiful (“I’m talking to you!”); others celebrate accomplishments, such as E for explore (Matthew Henson, Mae Jemison), or experiences, like G for the Great Migration. The rhyming verses are light on the tongue, making the reading smooth and soothing. The brightly colored, folk art–style illustrations offer vibrant scenes of historical and contemporary Black life, with common people and famous people represented in turn. Whether reading straight through and poring over each page or flipping about to look at the refreshing scenes full of brown and black faces, readers will feel pride and admiration for the resilience and achievements of Black people and a call to participate in the “unfinished…American tale.” Endnotes clarify terms and figures, and a resource list includes child-friendly books, websites, museums, and poems.

A substantive and affirming addition to any collection. (Informational picture book. 6-11)

Pub Date: Dec. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5235-0749-8

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020

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