The Spark in You

Random House Studio. Jan. 2024. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780593380093.
PreS-Gr 1–Feathers, sequins, and other assorted notions lay scattered in front of a young girl with dark skin and big, curly brown hair. With an idea in her mind and a spark in her heart, her scissors snip, revealing wings and a mask ready for bedazzling. Posters of Brazil and Carnival pinned to the wall silently allude to the motivation for the girl’s creative pursuit. Soon, her dazzling costume is finished and she boards a bus to join the jubilant celebrations of Carnival. Food carts boast their delicious offerings in Portuguese, music is loud and energetic, and brilliantly dressed people of many skin tones dance samba in the streets. Pippin’s second-person narrative is affirmative and honors the creative self-expression of readers, comparing it to the same spark of exuberant energy that flows through Carnival festivities, “Your spark is big and powerful like a festive explosion.” However, the text does not directly reference Carnival, so it is the vibrant and stylized digital illustrations that tell the story of the young girl attending the celebration. For textual information on Carnival, pair with Joana Pastro’s Bisa’s Carnaval. Back matter features instructions to “Make Your Own Fancy Mask.”
VERDICT Libraries will want to consider purchasing this homage to joyful self-expression for its visual representation of Carnival.

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