A cast of diverse children seize the day by helping others, taking on leadership roles, and expressing their personalities. Miller writes in buoyant rhyming verses: “You have your own spirit, unparalleled flair./ So rock what you’ve got—every day, everywhere.” In muted artwork featuring residual pencil lines, they work together to fix a red wagon, plant flowers, andplay sports and make-believe. Kids need not be just one thing, the book suggests, demonstrating that one might be “a swimmer who knits./ A cellist who cheers./ A mutt-loving cat cuddler who volunteers” (a child with short, spiky hair walks six dogs while a cat rides along in a red hoodie). Together, Miller and Barton offer a genuine message about individuality. Ages 4–8. (Feb.)
“Miller and Barton encourage kids to be their best, follow their own drummers, and give their all in a book that is sure to bring to mind Dr. Seuss’ Oh, the Places You’ll Go. Adorable [and] racially diverse.” — Kirkus Reviews
“Miller writes in buoyant rhyming verses. Together, Miller and Barton offer a genuine message about individuality.” — Publishers Weekly
“Miller’s story and Barton’s illustrated characters are diverse and encourage young readers to not only be themselves, but to also do good deeds. There is an important underlying theme of treating others with respect and dignity. An excellent upbeat addition to any collection.” — School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1—A parade of children marches through this festive book and into readers' hearts. Whether loud or quiet, big or small, each "you" is encouraged to recognize their individuality. Furthermore, the book relays to children the message that each person's talents are even more valuable when shared with others. Miller's story and Barton's illustrated characters are diverse and encourage young readers to not only be themselves, but to also do good deeds, as children in the story are depicted planting flowers for a neighbor, singing to a room of the elderly, and recycling littered trash. Similar to Miller's Be Kind, there is an important underlying theme of treating others with respect and dignity. The story is the embodiment of the saying "march to the beat of your own drum," including one child passing off the mallets for a literal drum to another child, transforming the metaphor into a visual celebration of uniqueness. The images are warm and inviting and the rhyming text is accessible, with a scattering of more difficult vocabulary to challenge some young readers. VERDICT Overall, this story is gentle and truly delightful, and fans of the author, along with new readers, will not be disappointed. An excellent upbeat addition to any collection.—Kaitlin Malixi, Kensington Health Sciences Academy, Philadelphia
Miller and Barton encourage kids to be their best, follow their own drummers, and give their all in a book that is sure to bring to mind Dr. Seuss' Oh, the Places You'll Go.
Adorable, racially diverse children march through these pages, showing off their personalities and talents. A proud black girl with braids and a baton leads a parade of children past a window where a shy white child in a cardboard crown watches. By the final page, this child has joined the rest, playing an offered drum with wild abandon. In between, kids practice their skills and follow their passions: engaging in a neighborhood cleanup, fixing a wagon, rollerblading, reading, counting, drawing, imagining, singing. Miller sends the message that whatever your talents, you need to get off the sidelines and share them: "So find what you're good at, what you have to give. / Then go share your sunshine wherever you live." And no matter how out-there your particular talent might seem, "Don't change how you act to be just like the rest. / Believe in yourself and the things you do best." Barton's pencil, mixed-media, and digital illustrations portray believable kids doing kid things—they are silly, uncertain, messy, athletic, bookish, and daring. Not a one is perfect, but they are giving it their all.
Advice for being the best you you can be. (Picture book. 4-8)