Almond

Allen Say. Scholastic Press, $18.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-338-30037-6
A new child at Almond’s school has dazzling talent: “The New Girl could play ‘Flight of the Bumblebee’ so fast that Almond couldn’t see the bee.” Caldecott Medalist Say draws the New Girl’s bow dashing across the strings in a speedy blur. It’s hard for Almond not to compare herself to the New Girl (“All they say about me is that I have beautiful hair,” she says). Cast as Rapunzel in the school play, Almond fears a lack of talent almost as much as she appreciates New Girl’s. In a story that plumbs the depths of self-doubt and self-discovery, Say’s remarkable charcoal and pastel portraits, sometimes shown atop photographs, capture all the stages of Almond’s journey, from despondence (“I am not an actress,” she decides, stalking the school halls after the play) to a gentle revelation offered by the New Girl. An introspective reverie the next day shows Almond that she can enter another being’s existence in a way that’s more than just “pretending.” She is an actress, she declares to her mother, who rejoices with her. Say shows children a path toward deciding their own worth for themselves, apart from adult expectations. Ages 4–8. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 12/05/2019
Release date: 03/03/2020
Genre: Children's
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