Picture Book Reviews (1)

The Very Fairy Princess by Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton, Illustrated by Christine Davenier

Summary: Geraldine knows she is a very fairy princess, even if no one else does. This is the story of how a proper fairy princess spends her day.

Art: This book is pink, glittery, and bright, perfect for any reader who enjoys a bit of glamour. The pencil illustrations are open and colorful, with streaks of red, blue, and green visible even in Geraldine’s blonde hair.

Review: The Very Fairy Princess is something of a typical princess book, simply detailing how Geraldine acts like royalty and adds a bit of magic to the every day. The story follows Geraldine from waking up and eating breakfast, through school, then to bedtime. At each activity, she explains how she glamorizes her life with a tiara or wings, but she also manages to incorporate things like scabby news and sneakers, explaining they are necessary for fairies just learning to fly. Importantly, Geraldine realizes true princesses are supportive, responsible, and creative; it is not all about the glitter and the clothes. Geraldine’s imagination and even her message may not be original in picture books, but they are still a lot of fun.

Silent Music: A Story of Baghdad by James Rumford

Summary: Ali is a young boy living in Baghdad during the war. He loves to play soccer, but he also finds peace through practicing his calligraphy.

Art: The artwork beautifully evokes Iraqi culture, employing rich, warm colors and plenty of geometric designs woven into the background and occasionally characters’ clothing. Calligraphy is also prominently featured throughout.

Review: Although the book has a few non sequiturs, changing abruptly from discussing Ali’s love of soccer to his love of calligraphy, the story is beautiful, demonstrating how Ali uses calligraphy and his dedication in practicing it to find a bit of good in his war-torn world. Ali also compares himself to the famous calligraphy Yakut, who similarly found escape in beautiful writing. The book has no plot ending, instead leading abruptly to a detailed author’s note about calligraphy, but this is excusable in the sense that Ali is still experiencing a war without an ending.

Someday by Eileen Spinelli, Illustrated by Rosie Winstead

Summary: A little girl dreams of all the things she will experience and accomplish someday.

Art: The illustrations are very bright, open, and appealing. With a medium level of detail, they depict a wide-eyed and dreamy girl who is accompanied by a cat on every page. Readers can will have fun looking for the cat, watching the girl’s changing hairstyle, and seeing all her dreams come to life.

Review: Someday is an optimistic read written in a parallel structure that always compares what the little girl will do someday (usually something extraordinary) to what she is doing today (sometimes something fun, but occasionally something a little unpleasant). The story ends with a slight twist, sharing the unique experience the girl is having “right now.” The story is fun, depicting a wide variety of things that the girl might achieve one day, ranging from competing as an Olympic gymnast to dining at the White House, and can be used to start a discussion with young readers about what they would like to do someday and how they can begin preparing right now.

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