cover image Patchwork Prince

Patchwork Prince

Baptiste Paul, illus. by Kitt Thomas. Dial, $18.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-593-46344-4

“I’ll never forget the first time I became a prince,” begins a Black-presenting child narrator heading out with their mother. After the two hide, a truck carrying colorful fabric scraps speeds past them, spilling its bounty. As the two choose bright cloths from the pile, the driver returns and sets the textiles alight, signaling that “poor families were not welcome.” Back home and having arranged the garments, the child does chores so “my queen’s hands could be free to do their magic”—stitch clothing “fit for a prince” out of the fabrics. Attired in a patchwork drape of many colors, the child dances with their mother by candlelight, and, “My chin held high, I smiled and waved” to peers. Using phrases that outline principles of princehood (“A prince must be ready for new adventures,” “Be brave”), Paul (Climb On!) marries whimsical imaginings with a portrait of bounty created amid adversity. Thomas (My Fade Is Fresh) brings a reverence for color to the spreads, imbuing them with jewel tones reflected in artfully rendered characters and garb. It’s a loving portrait of a child embracing their innate value, taught by the queen who loves them best. An author’s note concludes. Ages 3–7. Author’s agent: Karen Grencik, Red Fox Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Chad W. Beckerman, CAT Agency. (Oct.)