cover image Every-Day Dress-Up

Every-Day Dress-Up

Selina Alko. Knopf, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-375-86092-8

Alko’s empowering message is evident from the outset: “I used to only play princess,” says a girl seen reading on her bed with her mother, “until Mommy showed me pictures and told me stories of real, great women.” Taking aim at princess role models of the Disney variety (who readers will easily recognize on the posters in the girl’s bedroom, Alko (I’m Your Peanut Butter Big Brother) offers some replacement heroines—from real life—as the girl plays dress-up. On Monday, she’s Amelia Earhart with goggles and a cardboard plane; on later days, she glams it up as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Julia Child, and Frida Kahlo (complete with a “thick black brow” on her forehead); the inclusion of Ella Fitzgerald and ballerina Maria Tallchief reminds readers that singing and dancing aren’t verboten. Reminiscent of 2010’s My Name Is Not Isabella, it’s a well-meaning, if perhaps overly earnest reminder of girls’ potential, something Alko’s protagonist is well aware of: “[W]hen I’m older, I hope to have my own outstanding outfit, so that little girls will sport costumes of me!” Ages 5–8. (Oct.)