Parker Shines On: Another Extraordinary Moment by Parker Curry & Jessica Curry, illustrated by Brittany Jackson. Aladdin, 2021. 9781534454743
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 3.5
Genre: Realistic fiction/picture book
What did you like about the book? This cheerful picture book celebrates dancing from the heart. Six year old Parker loves ballet, as well as dancing with her little brother and sister at home. When the new girl in her ballet class, Mira, gets the recital solo, Parker isn’t jealous – she’s more in awe. But on the night of the recital, Mira gets super nervous. At just the right moment, Parker’s little sister shouts out “Dance party!” from the audience, and Parker knows how to help Mira. The two girl enter the stage together, channeling happy ‘dance party’ energy: “letting their outsides celebrate the way they were feeling on their insides.”
The serious and loving sides of this little dancer are realistic and relatable. The digital art is animation-like, and there are lots of pinks and purples to channel the ballet theme. It’s also nice that there are only friendly, positive vibes at ballet class. Fans of the first book with Parker, Parker Looks Up, will notice the pivotal moment when she looks up at posters of famous African American dancers, and realizes that she can be a great dancer too. Ballet-obsessed youngsters, especially African American girls, will love all the ballet class scenes and terms.
The book was written by a real life Parker, who is six, with her mom, who is a blogger.
Anything you didn’t like about it? The art was a bit slick for me, making all of the children look Disney-fied, with identical giant eyes. I also would have loved to see boys in Parker’s class.
To whom would you recommend this book? For ages 3-6, especially fans of Parker Looks Up, and anyone looking for a ballet oriented book.
Who should buy this book? Day care centers, elementary school and public libraries
Where would you shelve it ? Picture books
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: January 29, 2022