A little one is told that he wears a sparkling crown made of such esoteric materials as moonlight and fireflies. This crown...

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THE CROWN ON YOUR HEAD

Every child is unique and special and loved, and one is told so, over and over, in this sentimental ode.

A little one is told that he wears a sparkling crown made of such esoteric materials as moonlight and fireflies. This crown will protect him and give him the ability to achieve anything he can dream and believe. Tillman employs couplets with a few tortured, but mostly accessible rhymes, some lovely imagery and lots of exclamation points. Full- and double-page spreads of super-bright, sharply colored illustrations convey the essence of the text as they depict the child with his crown glowing like a halo in endless fields of flowers or on an African plain with the most gentle elephants, zebra, antelopes and leopards in perfect sunny days and moonlit nights in the best of all possible worlds. But it is all just too perfect. The hyperbole becomes cloying as the child is told he is “chosen,” “magnificent,” “born to shine” and a “twinkling, little star.” Before overweening self-esteem and elitism are carried too far, the child is reminded that all his friends have crowns of equal value. But, of course, his crown is his best friend. Parents and grandparents will love to read this aloud to their little ones, but it might be too much of a good thing.

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-312-64521-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2011

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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

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

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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

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