I'm a Pretty Little Black Girl!

Betty K. Bynum, illus. by Claire Armstrong Parod. Dreamtitle (Midpoint Trade, dist.), $14.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-615-78551-6
In this first book in Bynum's planned I'm a Girl Collection, heroine Mia isn't lacking in self-esteem: "When I see myself in the mirror, I twirl,/ And I yell, ‘I'm a pretty little black girl!' " Mia gleefully heads to school, where she celebrates her friends and their skin colors, albeit with an unfortunate reliance on food metaphors: "My friend Kia... is tall and tan,/ My friend Keisha is the color of pecan;/ My best friend Charlotte... is like milk in coffee./ Dina-Rosemarie is the color of toffee." Parod's digital illustrations hint at the girls' individual interests (Ruby sings into a microphone, Dina-Rosemarie paints on an easel), but Bynum's lines sometimes take puzzling turns ("Her dark eyes shine like marbles/ in a brown paper bag!"), and Mia's repetitive praise of her friends and energetic descriptions of her nightly habits (which involve more twirling and mirror-gazing) cause the story to drag. The message about having pride and confidence in brown skin and hair that goes "every which-a-ways" is important, but the chaotic narration gets in the way of its delivery. Ages 4–9. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/30/2013
Release date: 10/01/2013
Genre: Children's
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