An artist’s sketch of a little girl comes alive with a message of self-love in Berger and Kerascoët’s debut collaboration.
“Once upon a black piece of paper, where anything could happen… / an artist picked up a pencil and started to draw.” And where pencil meets paper, little Viva comes to be. But something about Viva isn’t right, or so her artist thinks, and down comes the eraser until Viva jumps right off the page in protest. “Excuse me, lady artist, ma’am, / but I like me the way I am,” she insists, and as her artist tries changing Viva’s hair, her body, and her background (all to no avail), Viva responds with variations on a refrain: “Find what is yours and carve out your spot… / take it and love it and rock it a lot!” Berger’s prose is a joyous celebration of self-love and empowerment, as Viva not only challenges her artist’s perfectionism to reframe supposed flaws, but also reminds her that “rock what ya got” was once the artist’s own powerful mantra. Kerascoët captures this same exuberance and breathes life into every inch of the page, juxtaposing the realistic world of the artist with Viva’s two-dimensional vibrancy. Nostalgia features heavily here but doesn’t weigh down the otherwise energetic narrative. Viva’s look is informed by the artist’s self-image, and both are illustrated as racially ambiguous, with beige skin and vigorously curly dark hair.
A book for new and seasoned artists alike. (Picture book. 3-7)