Float Like a Butterfly – story by Ntozake Shange, illustrated by Edel Rodriguez

 Float Like a Butterfly – story by Ntozake Shange, illustrated by Edel Rodriguez, Disney/Jump at the Sun, 2017. 9781368008273

Format: Hardcover

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 3

What did you like about the book?  Muhammad Ali is given superhero status in this exuberant picture book biography. The real standout is the artwork, with large, images bursting from the page and seemingly continuing outside it. The bright, broad images, with much bright red, channeling Superman in lovely brown skin, are done in pastel, gouache and spray paint on a colored background, combined with delicate lines of woodblock ink. The result is both painterly and comic book. The text, however, is just lacking in substance, with quotes from Ali, but no interpretation of their meaning. Luckily, back matter fills in the gaps with a chronology and additional resources. This is a reissue originally published in 2002.

Anything you didn’t like about it? Although visually very appealing, this books offers only the bare bones of an understanding of the subject.

To whom would you recommend this book?  For ages 5-9 who are fans of Ali. But there are better biographies out there.

Who should buy this book? Day cares, elementary school and public libraries

Where would you shelve it ? Biography

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA

Date of review: May 12, 2017

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