Little Diva by LaChanze, illustrated by Brian Pinkney
Tony Award-winning actress LaChanze brings us the story of Nena, a little girl who wants to be a diva. Right now she is a D.I.T.: a Diva In Training. She wears stylish clothes, does vocal exercises, and even helps her mother with her yoga. Her mother is a diva already, a Broadway star. Nena gets to accompany her mother to the theater where there are costumes, wigs, and makeup and much more backstage. Nena sits in her special place to watch her mother onstage. Then she has to go home where she tells her Nana all about the show before heading to bed to plan her own performance for tomorrow.
LaChanze brings a breezy tone to this picture book that really captures the dreams of a youngster wanting to be just like her mother. The allure of the stage is brought to life in the book. I particularly enjoy the fact that diva is meant positively. It doesn’t mean tantrums and drama, rather it is art, craft and the theater. Pinkney’s art matches the breezy style of the text so well. He uses free-flowing lines and swirls of color to show this young diva’s life. There is an effortlessness to this book that makes it a pleasure to read.
Perfect for any little divas in your life that would have problems taking a short bow. Appropriate for ages 4-7.
Reviewed from copy received from Feiwel and Friends.
Amazing Faces, poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins, illustrated by Chris Soentpiet
This book is a great collection of poems that really reflect diversity and America. Diversity in race as well as the range of emotions in human experience, both are on display in this collection. The collection moves gracefully from one poem to the next, each fitting next to the other to make a cohesive whole. This is helped by Soentpiet’s art which celebrates emotions, humanity and community in the faces he depicts.
Hopkins has created a collection that really meshes well. Each poem and poet has a distinct voice and point of view. The differences are celebrated here, the poems just as diverse as the world they share. The first poem, Amazing Face by Rebecca Kai Dotlich, welcomes readers with open arms into the collection. It is closed just as effectively with a Langston Hughes poem, My People.
Soentpiet’s art captures moments in the world that we all want to grasp and hold onto a bit longer before they pass. There is the smile of a baby, the power of a storyteller, the evening sky, and that moment that loneliness disappears. All are illustrated with great detail, making those moments ever so real.
Highly recommended, this collection of poetry will help you celebrate what America is all about: the diversity of its people. Appropriate for ages 5-9.
Reviewed from copy received from Lee & Low Books.