cover image Respect: Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul

Respect: Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul

Carole Boston Weatherford, illus. by Frank Morrison. Atheneum, $18.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-5344-5228-2

Riffing on the memorably sung spelling of Franklin’s hit “Respect,” each spread of this picture book biography pairs a single word with a rhyming couplet to trace the sweep of Franklin’s life: “T-A-L-E-N-T/ Young Aretha’s solos soar with artistry./ Her wise father senses his daughter’s destiny.” Though the rhymes skew pat (“Aretha’s crowned as Queen of Soul, our own royalty./ She wins awards and accolades, and more than one degree”), Weatherford presents an overview of key moments in the notable singer’s life, particularly her contributions to the civil rights movement. Morrison’s rich illustrations use a stylized realism to depict Franklin’s trajectory from preacher’s daughter to beloved icon, building to the rapt faces of Barack and Michelle Obama watching as Franklin sings at the 2009 U.S. presidential inauguration. Back matter includes a list of Franklin’s hit songs and a detailed biography. Ages 4–8. [em](Aug.) [/em]