Brown Is Beautiful

Farrar. Oct. 2022. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780374389529.
PreS-Gr 3–A young girl with brown skin and black hair and an older couple take an ordinary hike amid epic landscapes, such as a rainstorm under a large sheltering tree that seems to have grown at the end of the world. Nearly microscopic moments, including ants marching along the ground and “rumbling trains transporting freight,” are noted. When they return home, the child’s parents have arrived with a newborn. The celebration of all things brown, from a nest, soil, roots, and a baby’s tiny promise, is wrapped up in very few pages; the author’s note discloses a childhood growing up mocked for her skin color and even joining in. She later grew into an appreciation and love for brown, and then extends an invitation to readers to put what they love, whatever it may be, into a scrapbook, with instructions. This book is built on 100 percent generosity, even before readers know its origins in a child’s heartbreak, with scenes of the grandparents trekking up hillsides and pointing out to one another the various things they spy; the trio revels in nature and in the company of the others. The artwork has the appearance of old-fashioned animation cells, with a stillness to the poses and frozen grins associated with the glory days of Disney films.
VERDICT A baby’s homecoming is a reminder of the joy found in the color brown, a cozy message that few readers will want to miss. Lovely.

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