While it is rare and refreshing to see a lesbian couple appear in a picture book outside the context of motherhood, the love...

READ REVIEW

PRINCESS LI / LA PRINCESA LI

From the Égalité series

This bilingual Spanish/English picture book celebrates an interracial love affair between two women.

Princess Li lives with her father, King Wan Tan, in a generic East Asian country where she frolics with a white woman, the red-haired, green-eyed Beatrice. When she refuses to choose a husband, the palace sorcerer obeys the outraged king’s demands, turning Beatrice into a bird. The two lovers are finally given Wan Tan’s permission to marry, however, after Beatrice-the-bird saves the king from being poisoned by the deceitful sorcerer. Repetitive, awkward prose (perhaps due to the translation) and cluttered, oddly distorted illustrations mar this already emotionally flat book that lacks either the visceral power of traditional folklore or the empowering message of modern tales. Although the moral is explicitly spelled out at the end (“Isn’t love more important than anything?”), readers are left with many questions both plot-related and philosophical. Why would a sorcerer so powerful need to resort to something as obvious as poison? Why must the author emphasize Li’s attractiveness to men? Why does the author repeatedly mention the same-sex aspect of the relationship but only obliquely refer to race (“Both were very different”)?

While it is rare and refreshing to see a lesbian couple appear in a picture book outside the context of motherhood, the love affair between Li and Beatrice isn’t likely to extend to their readers. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 10, 2016

ISBN: 978-84-944137-4-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: nubeOCHO

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

The buoyant uplift seems a bit pre-packaged but spot-on nonetheless.

THE WORLD NEEDS MORE PURPLE PEOPLE

A monohued tally of positive character traits.

Purple is a “magic color,” affirm the authors (both actors, though Hart’s name recognition is nowhere near the level of Bell’s), and “purple people” are the sort who ask questions, laugh wholeheartedly, work hard, freely voice feelings and opinions, help those who might “lose” their own voices in the face of unkindness, and, in sum, can “JUST BE (the real) YOU.” Unlike the obsessive protagonist of Victoria Kann’s Pinkalicious franchise, being a purple person has “nothing to do with what you look like”—a point that Wiseman underscores with scenes of exuberantly posed cartoon figures (including versions of the authors) in casual North American attire but sporting a wide range of ages, skin hues, and body types. A crowded playground at the close (no social distancing here) displays all this wholesome behavior in action. Plenty of purple highlights, plus a plethora of broad smiles and wide-open mouths, crank up the visual energy—and if the earnest overall tone doesn’t snag the attention of young audiences, a grossly literal view of the young narrator and a grandparent “snot-out-our-nose laughing” should do the trick. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10.4-by-20.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 22.2% of actual size.)

The buoyant uplift seems a bit pre-packaged but spot-on nonetheless. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12196-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

The title says it all: Black boys are “every good thing.”

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Prize
  • Kirkus Prize
    finalist

  • New York Times Bestseller

I AM EVERY GOOD THING

A much-needed book for Black children when society demonstrates otherwise.

The Kirkus Prize–, Coretta Scott King Honor–, Newbery Honor–, and Caldecott Honor–winning team behind Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut (2017) return for another celebration of Black excellence. In a text brimming with imagination and Black-boy joy, Barnes lays the foundation for young Black readers to go forth into the world filled with confidence and self-assurance: “I am brave. I am hope. / I am my ancestors’ wildest dream. / I am worthy of success, / of respect, of safety, of kindness, of happiness.” Simultaneously, he opens a window for non-Black readers to see Black boys’ humanity. They have dreams, feel pain, are polite and respectful—the list of qualities goes on. Barnes also decides to address what is waiting for them as they experience the world. “I am not what they might call me.” With this forceful statement, he provides a tool for building Black resilience, reassuring young Black readers that they are not those names. James supplies his customarily painterly art, his brushy oils painting Black boys of every shade of brown playing, celebrating, achieving, aspiring, and loving. Through every stroke readers will see that Black boys are “worthy / to be loved.” (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 35% of actual size.)

The title says it all: Black boys are “every good thing.” (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-51877-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

more