A cute reflection of girl-centric playtime, role play, and friendship.

READ REVIEW

DRESS LIKE A GIRL

Fashion-conscious young girls get practical tips on finding suitable outfits for every occasion—and profession.

An ethnically diverse group of girls arrives at the home of their friend, whose Asian father and black mother look on. In the rhyming text readers learn that the rules about what it means to dress like a girl are to be heeded “in your own way.” The girls proceed to play dress-up and make-believe with costumes of astronauts, doctors, conductors, fire fighters, police officers, scuba divers, arctic explorers, athletes, and construction workers. The ink-and-watercolor illustrations render lively children against spare backgrounds of rooms throughout the house that adapt to the girls’ imaginations. Readers are told to “Make your own rules / in this big wide world. // Set your sights high / and… // …DRESS LIKE A GIRL!” After many play scenes, they demonstrate their costumes and personalities for the hostess’s family, holding signs that say “Whoooo runs the world? GIRLS” and “My own hero” and “Get it, GIRL!” Then they fall asleep in their superhero-, dinosaur-, and outer-space–themed sleeping bags, with costume equipment scattered around on the floor. More a promotion of girl power than a challenge to gender—it does still validate the concept of “dressing like a girl”—this book encourages girls to broaden their horizons beyond princesses and fairies.

A cute reflection of girl-centric playtime, role play, and friendship. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-279892-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2018

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

Necessary nourishment, infectiously joyous.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2019

  • New York Times Bestseller

THE KING OF KINDERGARTEN

Newbery honoree Barnes (Crown, illustrated by Gordon C. James, 2017) shows a black boy what to expect on his first day as “king” of kindergarten.

A young boy greets the reader with a sweet smile. “The morning sun blares through your window like a million brass trumpets. / It sits and shines behind your head—like a crown.” The text continues in second person while the boy gets ready for his first day—brushing “Ye Royal Chiclets,” dressing himself, eating breakfast with his mother and father before riding “a big yellow carriage” to “a grand fortress.” The kind teacher and the other children at his table are as eager to meet him as he is to meet them. Important topics are covered in class (“shapes, the alphabet, and the never-ending mystery of numbers”), but playing at recess and sharing with new friends at lunch are highlights too, followed by rest time and music. The playful illustrations use texture and shadow to great effect, with vibrant colors and dynamic shapes and lines sustaining readers’ interest on every page. Text and visuals work together beautifully to generate excitement and confidence in children getting ready to enter kindergarten. The little king’s smiling brown face is refreshing and heartwarming. The other children and parents are a mix of races; the teacher and staff are mostly brown.

Necessary nourishment, infectiously joyous. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-4074-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more