Rock What Ya Got

illus. by Kerascoët. 40p. Little, Brown. Sept. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780316561501. POP
PreS-Gr 2—An artist puts pen to a blank page, and creates a little girl named Viva. Feeling that something is not quite right with her creation, she attempts to erase the drawing. But Viva has come to life, and has a thing or two to say, because she likes herself just the way she is. The artist tries to reimagine the girl with different hair and body types, and even wonders if changing the story's background will help. But all along, Viva is there with her cheery mantras insisting that we all carve out a spot in this world and be who we are. In the end, Viva points to a book the author had written many years earlier when she was Viva's age, only to reveal that the artist was more or less drawing Viva in her own young image. This is an upbeat story with a charming character whose declarations are infectious. The vivacious watercolor illustrations are a subtle mix of the author's real world combined with Viva's more childlike fictional one.
VERDICT A book with a terrific message about finding the best parts of ourselves without judgment, and reminding all readers to "rock what ya got!" An excellent addition to picture book shelves.

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