A Little Radical: The ABCs of Activism

Danica and Jason Russell. Broomstick Engine, $20 (60p) ISBN 978-0-692-82451-1
The Russells (Jason Russell directed the viral short film Kony 2012, about the child soldiers of the Lord’s Resistance Army) bring a focus on activism to a picture book audience in this rhyming alphabet book. In an attractive book-within-a-book setup, the spreads consist of photographs of a handmade, zine-like guidebook filled with collaged images, pasted-in text, and hand-drawn or painted cartoons, all thematically tied to the words being introduced. The word action is formed from red yarn that is “held” in place by a trio of cartoon figures (“A is for action./ It all starts with you./ Talk won’t do a thang./ Without follow-through”). The guidebook is photographed against a backdrop of rocks on the D pages (for defend), spray paint and safety pins bring a punk aesthetic to the R spread (for radical), and torn b&w photographs of hands introduce xerography for X (“Print posters. And fliers. Be seen and heard./ You can say a lot without saying a word”). The cartoon illustrations can be stick-figure generic, but the book’s rhymes nimbly balance motivation and playfulness, and the Russells’ overall attention to detail is evident. Ages 4–8. (BookLife)
Reviewed on: 08/21/2017
Genre: Children's
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