Elijah’s Easter Suit

Doubleday. Jan. 2024. 32p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780593649954.
Gr 1-3–Inspiration may be found in this story for those who love to don their finest during the spring holidays. This year, Elijah is determined for the reverend to deem him the best-dressed at their Easter service, so he tries on a multitude of colorful suits. Yet none feel right. After an inspiring discussion with church elders, he uses his ingenuity and a sewing machine to take fabric scraps from his family to create a perfect patchwork suit to impress and honor his community. While young readers will appreciate the triumph of Elijah’s creativity, elementary classroom teachers may also find this to be a useful tool for discussions about Black history. In the back matter, Jackson shares memories of suit shopping with his father before offering readers insight into the historical and cultural significance of Black churchgoers' elaborate and beautiful clothes. Adults will likely pick up on the homages to Prince and other Black celebrities as Elijah tries on suits in the beginning of the story. This otherwise capable picture book’s only hiccup is its illustrations: while they are adorable, there are times when the wide-eyed faces come off as flat and expressionless.
VERDICT A sweet, unique take on Easter that also functions as an homage to the Black American experience.

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