The One and Only Sparkella

Feiwel & Friends. May 2021. 48p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250750754.
K-Gr 2–Hollywood superstar Tatum pens a sparkling debut. Ella—who prefers to go by Sparkella—prepares for her first day at a new school. Excited to share her penchant for all things glittering, Sparkella proclaims, “I am not nervous because I sparkle!” However, as her father walks her glittery self to school, she admits to being “nerv-cited.” This prompts an upbeat pep talk from her pink-boa wearing dad, followed by a mini-dance party. Sparkella enters school with her confidence restored—only to be met by classmates who are quite unsure of her shimmering self. At recess, the lunch table, and art class, Sparkella’s classmates express confusion about her self-expression. Feeling defeated, she returns home with a resolve to be less sparkly the next day. She eats a plain lunch, goes by Ella, and sits quietly, yet feels even worse. In a delightful twist, Ella’s father approaches her that evening and admits that he is having trouble at work and seeks her advice. Of course, lots of dancing ensues, along with the recommendation to be yourself, encouraging Sparkella to return to her own twinkling self. The next day at school, she notices a little more sparkle among her classmates. The endearing representation of a supportive single father makes this book shine; similarly, the illustrations delight throughout, tenderly reflecting Sparkella’s struggles and successes.
VERDICT A charming story of self-reliance, and a solid addition to many collections.

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