cover image Little Diva

Little Diva

LaChanze, , illus. by Brian Pinkney. . Feiwel and Friends, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-312-37010-7

Stage actress LaChanze and Caldecott Honor artist Pinkney (Duke Ellington ) shine a glowing spotlight on a “Diva-in-Training,” whose role model is her Broadway star mother. Loose, wispy black line art with pastel-toned washes playfully convey Nena’s constant motion and exuberance as she describes her day. At home she tries on her mother’s clothes and practices yoga with her, but more than anything Nena loves to accompany her mother to the theater for a matinee. Nena plays her own behind-the-scenes roles, trying on wigs (a montage has her resembling everyone from Elvis to one of the Supremes), helping a guitar player tune up, calling for actors to take their places, and imitating her mother’s on-stage bow from the wings (“Mommy says a real diva never bows too long, but I could bow forever”). LaChanze highlights both the glamour and the drawbacks of a diva’s life—Nena regretfully watches her mother return to the theater without her—but readers will recognize that, with a loving mother and grandmother, Nena is indeed “on her way.” An accompanying CD features a song and reading by LaChanze. Ages 4–8. (May)