cover image A Night Out with Mama

A Night Out with Mama

Quvenzhané Wallis, illus. by Vanessa Brantley-Newton. Simon & Schuster, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4814-5880-1

What’s it like to walk the red carpet when you’re a kid? Wallis knows: at age nine, her feature-film debut in Beasts of the Southern Wild earned her a Best Actress nomination, making her the youngest nominee ever. In Wallis’s first children’s book (publishing simultaneously with the launch of a chapter book series), the reason for the lightly fictionalized narrator’s night out is described as “an awards show” but it’s clear that it’s a very big deal. A hip young woman comes to the girl’s house to do her hair, she dons a sparkly blue dress and matching shoes, and a limo takes her to the venue. She stumbles on the red carpet and doesn’t win, but she recovers like a pro and declares it “the time of my life.” Brantley-Newton’s colorful digital cartooning is always fun and festive, and although a fair amount of time is devoted to getting glam for the party, most readers should relate to an ebullient heroine whose family makes her feel loved and grounded—no matter where life takes her. Ages 4–8. [em]Author’s agent: Esther Newberg, ICM. Illustrator’s agent: Lori Nowicki, Painted Words. (Oct.) [/em]