This volume adds depth and beauty to the growing collection of hair-themed picture books for the very young.

MIRA'S CURLY HAIR

Brown-skinned, curly-haired Mira is delighted to watch her mother transition from straight hair to curly hair in this European import set in the Emirates.

Mira doesn’t like her curly hair. “She wanted it to be straight and smooth, just like her Mama’s.” She tries hair tools and poses and flattening it out with books, but her hair still curls all over. One day, Mira and her mama get caught outside in the rain. As they wait for the rain to clear, Mira notices something happening to Mama’s hair. “Up and up! It kept on curling! It wouldn’t stop!” Mira thinks her mama’s hair “looks beautiful and free, curling everywhere!” From then on, both Mira and her mama wear curls every day. In the final, triumphant spread, the curly-haired duo rides a tandem bicycle by the sea. Although it’s hard to imagine why Mira has never seen her mama’s hair in its natural state before, this simple story does a lovely job weaving in various cultural realities with a universal theme of self-acceptance. The artwork, in acrylics completed digitally, uses bright, nearly fantastical colors and images—a red sky, hair tools that include toy soldiers, brightly patterned birds surrounding Mama’s curly hair. Palm trees, Islamic architecture, and traditionally dressed passers-by line the streets.

This volume adds depth and beauty to the growing collection of hair-themed picture books for the very young. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-911373-61-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Lantana

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Safe to creep on by.

LOVE FROM THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR

Carle’s famous caterpillar expresses its love.

In three sentences that stretch out over most of the book’s 32 pages, the (here, at least) not-so-ravenous larva first describes the object of its love, then describes how that loved one makes it feel before concluding, “That’s why… / I[heart]U.” There is little original in either visual or textual content, much of it mined from The Very Hungry Caterpillar. “You are… / …so sweet,” proclaims the caterpillar as it crawls through the hole it’s munched in a strawberry; “…the cherry on my cake,” it says as it perches on the familiar square of chocolate cake; “…the apple of my eye,” it announces as it emerges from an apple. Images familiar from other works join the smiling sun that shone down on the caterpillar as it delivers assurances that “you make… / …the sun shine brighter / …the stars sparkle,” and so on. The book is small, only 7 inches high and 5 ¾ inches across when closed—probably not coincidentally about the size of a greeting card. While generations of children have grown up with the ravenous caterpillar, this collection of Carle imagery and platitudinous sentiment has little of his classic’s charm. The melding of Carle’s caterpillar with Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE on the book’s cover, alas, draws further attention to its derivative nature.

Safe to creep on by. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-448-48932-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A pro-girl book with illustrations that far outshine the text. (Picture book. 3-7)

I AM ENOUGH

A feel-good book about self-acceptance.

Empire star Byers and Bobo offer a beautifully illustrated, rhyming picture book detailing what one brown-skinned little girl with an impressive Afro appreciates about herself. Relying on similes, the text establishes a pattern with the opening sentence, “Like the sun, I’m here to shine,” and follows it through most of the book. Some of them work well, while others fall flat: “Like the rain, I’m here to pour / and drip and fall until I’m full.” In some vignettes she’s by herself; and in others, pictured along with children of other races. While the book’s pro-diversity message comes through, the didactic and even prideful expressions of self-acceptance make the book exasperatingly preachy—a common pitfall for books by celebrity authors. In contrast, Bobo’s illustrations are visually stunning. After painting the children and the objects with which they interact, such as flowers, books, and a red wagon, in acrylic on board for a traditional look, she scanned the images into Adobe Photoshop and added the backgrounds digitally in chalk. This lends a whimsical feel to such details as a rainbow, a window, wind, and rain—all reminiscent of Harold and the Purple Crayon. Bobo creates an inclusive world of girls in which wearing glasses, using a wheelchair, wearing a head scarf, and having a big Afro are unconditionally accepted rather than markers for othering.

A pro-girl book with illustrations that far outshine the text. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-266712-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more