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)