STRUT, BABY, STRUT

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A Black infant with Afro puffs shimmies, crawls, and wobbles. When she grows into a toddler, she meets two other girls: one White and redheaded with twin ponytails and the other brown-skinned, straight-haired, and cued as Asian. The book follows these girls and their friendship as they grow and change, with the text addressing them directly throughout: baby, toddler, little girl, big kid, teen, young lady, woman. The messaging is overtly motivational: “lean toward tomorrow,” “reach high, / for all your dreams,” “always do you,” “know your worth,” and “make yourself proud.” Glenn’s digital artwork is full of bold colors, background patterns, and smiling faces and refreshingly shows girls discovering their passions as they age (in this case, activism, soccer, and photography.) No boys or men are pictured, and the girls all resemble their mothers, missing an opportunity to show family diversity. There is, however, fat representation, and a background character wears a hijab. The story rhymes, but the text layout sometimes makes it hard to determine the directionality of print, so some readers may miss the rhyming pattern; also, the meter is often clunky and lacks polish, making the book tough to read aloud fluidly. An audience is hard to pin down—the simple presentation is ideal for emergent readers, but the time skips may fly over their heads. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

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