Beauty is said to be in the eye of the beholder, and this book encourages readers to regard everyone as “lovely.”
In today’s world, with increasingly evident diversity in race, ethnicity, gender expression, sexuality, fashion, body shape, abilities, and choices about everything, the author/illustrator presents people of every description in the bold, brightly colored digital illustrations. Opposites are introduced: “black” for a white young woman clad in black and “white” for a young-looking, brown-skinned woman with flowing white hair. “Simple” appears on a tattooed white arm, along with a few designs, while “complex” is written on a brown arm, with what appear to be elaborate mehndi designs (henna designs applied before a South Asian wedding). A white baby is “soft,” and an older white woman with purple hair, a spiked denim jacket and choker, a nose ornament, and many ear decorations is “sharp.” A “tall” person with Asian features walks a small dog. A “short” smaller, light-brown–skinned male with green hair has a large dog. A gay interracial male couple face an adoring dark-brown–skinned child and mom. These pages read: “Lovely is you. / Lovely is me.” The last double-page spread includes young and old: a white woman in a wheelchair (there is one amputee with a modern prosthetic leg earlier in the book), a goateed man in a bustier, and others of various colors and sizes.
“Lovely is different, weird, and wonderful.” So reads the caption for a white girl with blonde hair and one blue and one brown eye! A simple book with lots of truth. (Picture book. 3-6)