January 18, 2018

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This Is It by Daria Peoples-Riley | SLJ Review

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redstarPEOPLES-RILEY, Daria. This Is It. illus. by Daria Peoples-Riley. 32p. HarperCollins/Greenwillow. Feb. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062657763.
K-Gr 4 –A spunky, endearingly gawky girl leaps across the cityscape on the cover of this simple, but profound picture book about being brave and taking chances. It is audition day, and a lone girl inhabits the streets of New York City with her shadow challenging her to a dance-off to boost her self-confidence. She starts off pouting, stiff, and unsure among the menacing gray columns of concrete buildings. Her shadow reminds her how everything in her life has prepared her for this day and encourages her to go forward and greet her destiny. Gradually, colors seep in to the illustrations. Full-bleeds done in ink, gouache, and watercolor portray the brilliant hues of tree-lined streets contrasted against murky buildings. The free verse moves fluidly in and out of rhyme and features the occasional concrete poetry stanza. No word is forced and the message is clear: you can do this! By the end, the dancer is ready, hair pulled into a bun, and one eyebrow raised as she grand jetés across the dance floor in an image parallel to that on the cover. VERDICT This well-crafted book celebrates the joy of dance and shows a girl gaining confidence in herself—an important message for all children. Recommended for purchase for all picture book collections.–Clara Hendricks, Cambridge Public Library, MA

This review was published in the School Library Journal January 2018 issue.

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