Thursday, July 2, 2020

Review - You Are Special

You Are Special
by Sam Loman
Date: 2020
Publisher: Clavis Publishing
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: e-book
Source: NetGalley

Kiki looks in the mirror. She thinks her fur is boring. Then Kiki has an idea. She uses pencils, ink, and paint to make herself colorful. Will her friends think she is special now?

A fun story about appreciating yourself just the way you are. For all children ages 4 and up.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

Aside from the somewhat cute illustrations, this is really rather weak. It's the story of a white cat who thinks she's boring because she doesn't have pretty colours like her friends. So she goes and uses various art media to colour and paint herself. Her friends aren't impressed. Eventually, she's all colourful. Then her mother pops her in the tub and tells her she's special just as she is.

While the overall message is fine, it's overshadowed by some weird storytelling choices. Each time Kiki asks a friend if they like her new colours, they blow her off. Based on the illustrations, they're too wrapped up in their own vanity to notice or care (which begs the question of why these are her friends in the first place). I thought the friends' attitude might be addressed, but it wasn't. Another thing that threw me was that the cat was colouring herself with coloured pencils. Paint? Fine. Markers? Okay. But how do you draw on fur with coloured pencils? I'm also not a fan of the emphasis on specialness. Yes, Mommy tells the siblings they're special just as they are... but she'd also just told them they were special because they were all covered in rainbow colours. The message is a bit muddled, and I'm not sure if it's clear enough for 4-year-olds.

Overall, this is weak. Kids might enjoy the illustrations. But the message isn't strong enough (or clear enough) for this to be a book I would recommend.

Thank you to NetGalley and Clavis Publishing for providing a digital ARC.

Premise: 2/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 2/5
Illustrations: 2/5
Originality: 2/5

Enjoyment: 1/5

Overall: 1.67 out of 5

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