Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Review - It Takes a Village

It Takes a Village
by Hillary Rodham Clinton
illustrated by Marla Frazee
Date: 2017
Publisher: Simon Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 40
Format: e-book
Source: library

“What does it take to change the world?”

Former Secretary of State and Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton’s first book for young readers, inspired by the themes of her classic New York Times bestselling book It Takes a Village, and illustrated by two-time Caldecott Honor recipient Marla Frazee, asks readers what can they do to make the world a better place?

It Takes a Village tells the heartwarming and universal story of a diverse community coming together to make a difference. All kinds of people working together, playing together, and living together in harmony makes a better village and many villages coming together can make a better world. Together we can build a better life for one another. Together we can change our world.

The book will resonate with children and families and through the generations as it encourages readers to look for a way they can make a difference. It is a book that you will surely want to read again and again, a book you will want to share and a book that will inspire.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

It's funny how I seem to find library e-books in clusters. One day, I read a couple of books about elephants. Another day, I read a couple of books whose titles started with How to.... Today, I came across picture books by both Hillary Clinton and her daughter, Chelsea. I read Chelsea's first, which may have been a mistake... because it make her mom's look weak in comparison.

This seems to be the sort of picture book that's aimed at adults more than kids. Yes, kids are smart. Yes, community and cooperation are important. But, you know what? Most kids already know these things, so a book like this is kind of pointless; the intended audience won't get a lot out of it, and the people who really need such a book will write it off as beneath them. I couldn't help feeling a little confused, too, as I was reading it. Although I understood the overall message, there were certain lines that felt out of place, and more political than they needed to be:

Children are
born believers.
And citizens, too.

(I have nothing against those words, but I question their value in a picture book. What does that comment about citizenship even mean in the context of building a playground?)

I'd encountered the illustrator's work before in The Boss Baby, but here, the pictures didn't really work for me. They're cute, but the background skies that have been drawn in kind of gave the pictures an ominous feel (at least for me), and sort of made the whole thing look dull. So I wasn't really a fan.

This isn't a bad book, but it's not a great one, either. Sorry, Hillary, but Chelsea's got you beat in the picture-book department.

Premise: 4/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 3/5
Illustrations: 3/5
Originality: 3/5

Enjoyment: 2/5

Overall: 2.83 out of 5

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