A delightful story that speaks powerfully to the importance of representation.

READ REVIEW

PARKER LOOKS UP

AN EXTRAORDINARY MOMENT

This book is based on the viral photograph of African American toddler Parker Curry, who, during a visit to the National Portrait Gallery, became mesmerized by Amy Sherald’s portrait of Michelle Obama, who she thought was a queen.

One rainy afternoon, Parker’s mother (co-author Jessica Curry) makes the suggestion that they visit the museum, little sister Ava in tow. At the museum, they see Parker’s friend Gia and her mother. The three girls dance through the halls of the museum noticing horses, flowers, and feathers in the famous works of art. Just before they leave, Parker notices the portrait of Michelle Obama, stops in her tracks, and that viral photographic moment is born. Parker’s thoughts about what she sees when she looks at Michelle Obama are assumed by her expressive gaze, well captured by illustrator Jackson. The reimagined images of the paintings are brilliant. In one, Einstein seems to be looking down on Parker and Gia, who laugh at his “bushy mustache,” and ballerinas in “frilly white tutus” step out of the frame to join the girls as they dance down a hall. (The actual titles of the paintings are included in the backmatter.) One illustration shows a diverse group of children engaging in various activities, which invites young readers to imagine a world of possibilities for themselves, the way Parker does.

A delightful story that speaks powerfully to the importance of representation. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5344-5186-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: Aug. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Lost and found was never so riotously funny or emotionally draining.

DON'T FORGET DEXTER!

A lost toy goes through an existential crisis.

The setup is on the copyright page. Amid the markers of a universally recognizable waiting room—fish tank, chairs against the wall, receptionist’s window, kids’ coloring table—is a tiny orange T. Rex with a dialogue balloon: “Hello?” A turn of the page brings Dexter T. Rexter into close view, and he explains his dilemma directly to readers. He and his best friend came for a checkup, but Jack’s disappeared. Maybe readers can help? But when Jack is still MIA, Dexter becomes disconsolate, believing his friend might have left him behind on purpose; maybe he likes another toy better? Dexter weighs his good qualities against those he lacks, and he comes up short. But when readers protest (indicated by a change in Dexter’s tone after the turn of the page), Dexter gains the determination he needs to make a plan. Unfortunately, though hilariously, his escape plan fails. But luckily, a just-as-upset black boy comes looking for Dexter, and the two are reunited. Ward’s ink, colored-pencil, and cut-paper illustrations give readers a toy’s view of the world and allow children to stomp in Dexter’s feet for a while, his facial expressions giving them lots of clues to his feelings. Readers will be reminded of both Knuffle Bunny and Scaredy Squirrel, but Dexter is a character all his own.

Lost and found was never so riotously funny or emotionally draining. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5420-4727-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2017

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