Say a Little Prayer
Tonya Bolden, Dionne Warwick, David Freeman Wooley, , illus. by Soud. . Running/RPKids, $17.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-7624-3268-4
The title is borrowed from one of Warwick's timeless collaborations with Burt Bacharach and Hal David, but her book is a flat, pedestrian self-esteem primer. Little D lives in a multicultural neighborhood and walks the straight and narrow path. She loves school (“math the most”), never eats treats from her father's candy store “til after three” and is “happy to be myself.” So strong is Little D's character that when her big moments arrive—solos of “Jesus Loves Me” in her church and during a Kids' Amateur Night at the Apollo Theater—it's anticlimactic: she says a little prayer and then brings down the house. Brazilian illustrator Soud can't seem to get the proportions of his characters right (the children's heads in particular seem frighteningly oversize). But he's very good at evoking the feel of a packed public space—his scenes in Little D's church and the Apollo give the book its few moments of drama. The accompanying CD has Warwick reading the text and performing the gospel song. All ages.
Reviewed on: 09/22/2008