Sunday, March 3, 2019

Review - Beautiful

by Stacy McAnulty
illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff
Date: 2016
Publisher: Running Press Kids
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: e-book

Every girl is unique, talented, and lovable. . . .Every girl is BEAUTIFUL.

Much more than how one looks on the outside, true beauty is found in conquering challenges, showing kindness, and spreading contagious laughter. Beautiful girls are empowered and smart and strong!

BEAUTIFUL breaks barriers by showing girls free to be themselves: splashing in mud, conducting science experiments, and reading books under a flashlight with friends. This book will encourage all girls to embrace who they are and realize their endless potential.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

This book is so cute! However, it's one that definitely needs to be looked at. It wouldn't work as an audiobook at all, since you need to be able to see the pictures and how they subvert the dated-sounding text. Let me explain.

The book lays out a number of assertions, which could be considered stereotypical or even offensive when taken alone:

Beautiful girls move gracefully.
And light up every room.
Beautiful girls know all about makeup.
And have a smart style.

And on it goes. But each one of those stereotypes is immediately smashed. We see a larger-than-average girl playing football and two girls playing wheelchair basketball (moving gracefully). We see girls in tents reading under the stars with their flashlights (lighting up every room). We see girls playing pirates with drawn-on mustaches and tattoos (knowing all about makeup). And we see girls engaged in scientific pursuits (having a smart style). I love how each stereotypical statement is illustrated in an unexpected way, taking each of those statements that might've been used to diminish girls and instead using them to build girls up.

This book shows that being beautiful doesn't need to be restricted to a narrow idea of beauty. There are lots of ways to be beautiful, and this book explores them in a fun way. The illustrations are joyful and amusing, and as I read through the book the first time, I couldn't wait to see how each one would turn the text on its head.

Highly recommended for girls of all ages. This is a book that I wish had been around when I was a little kid!

Quotable moment:

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

Enjoyment: 5/5

Overall: 4.67 out of 5


  1. Sounds darling. I didn't read much as a kid and I wish I had books like this.

    I'd like to invite you to join me for a reading challenge to read books from your own shelf. Check out the details here: 'My Own Books' Reading Challenge

    1. Thanks for the invitation! I'll have to think about joining.