Monday, April 13, 2009

childrens books sure have changed since i was little...

In this day and age, people of every shape and color are procreating. Authors of children's books have finally come out with stories that kids in interracial families can relate too. "I'm Your Peanut Butter Big Brother" by Selina Alko, is rather adorable actually.

As a young boy awaits the latest addition to his family, he wonders aloud what the new baby will look like. Coming from a “semisweet dark Daddy chocolate bar” and “strawberry cream mama’s milk,” will the little one be more “pure coal black” or like a “mocha cloud”? Regardless, the new sibling will enter an adoring world, filled with a sweetness that is described in edible terms, all illustrated in the funky, fun gouache and mixed-media illustrations: a pair of lips are shaped like jelly beans; the sunshine is “lemon meringue.” The text is full of literary wordplay, but the food conceit creates a one-note show and the constant comparisons may grow tiresome. Still, this is refreshingly non didactic story about prenatal anticipation in an interracial home, and it will make a good choice for sharing one-on-one or reading aloud to a group, whose members may want to come up with their own food metaphors for their families.

The story appeals on all levels; the illustrations are gorgeous, the text poetic and musical. Alko artfully captures the excitement and curiosity of a young child awaiting a younger sibling. What's nice is that this child has no one pre-determined picture of the sibling-to-be; through masterful artwork and spoken-word style text, the book explores a range of possible images of his future sibling. Written from the child's perspective, the book celebrates the lineage of interracial families, while joyously affirming kids and parents of all colors.

Whether you're white chocolate, milk chocolate or dark chocolate, this book is a delight!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Hi, glad you chose to review this book -- I agree with you that it's adorable!

I can't help but notice that the two middle paragraphs of your review are lifted verbatim from other reviews (one of them is from my review of this book on Amazon).

It is common courtesy to put quotation marks around material that you have not written yourself, credit the actual authors and embed links to the original sources.

I will thank you for making the appropriate changes on your blog. Thank you for respecting the work of others!

J.L. Roemer (a.k.a. Jessi)