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by Andrea Beaty
5 – 7
One girl sits outside in the dark when a bright book falls from the sky. “One spark. Faint and fading in the dark. Flicker . . . Flicker. . . Flicker. . . Glow.” The book is brimming with ideas, knowledge, and imagination. The “one girl” goes on a magical journey through the book. “One girl. One spark. Glowing. Growing in the dark. Burning. . . Burning. . . Burning. . . Fire.”
Beaty uses poetic text to tell an abstract story showing that “today, more than 130 million girls are denied an education. The story begins with one of these girls. It also begins with one book. The girl reads, and the world opens up to her. She discovers other places, other lives, and other possibilities.”
When the girl goes to school, she is “filled with wonder. Heart takes flight. Words like comets through the night.” One Girl does not have a plot, the text is confusing, and it isn’t until the very end that Beaty explains the idea behind the book. While the book’s purpose is noble, the picture book’s message will be lost on young readers.
While the text is confusing, the illustrations are amazing, beautiful, and full of imagination. Through a book, the girl is able to imagine new worlds, new careers, and new ideas. The fanciful pictures are full of rich colors and clearly shows the girl’s wonder at the world that a book opens up. When the girl goes to school, her class is full of diverse students. Each page has 1 to 6 words that appear in poetry format.
Even though One Girl is a picture book, most young readers will have a difficult time sitting through a reading of the book. While the pictures are amazing, young readers may lose interest in looking at them because the concepts they portray are abstract. One Girl has an important message to tell, but the message gets lost on younger readers who won’t grasp the deeper meaning behind the words and pictures. Parents looking for a picture book with educational value may want to check out Andrea Beaty’s other picture book series. the Questioneers Collection. The Amazing Scientists Series by Julia Finley Mosca would also make an excellent choice for parents who want to inspire their children to reach greater heights.
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