Can We Please Give the Police Department to the Grandmothers?

Dutton. Apr. 2023. 32p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780593462331.
K-Gr 4–The theory behind this idyllic book is that grandmothers can handle it. “If you up to mischief, they will pick you up swiftly in their sweet rides and look at you until you catch shame./ She will ask you if you are hungry and you say yes and of course you are.” The squad cars are cool, and the grandmothers—here Black and brown women with white hair and large hats, acquainted with Civil Rights icons as well as what troubles young hearts—have tables where good food fills up hungry stomachs, and any wildness is taken apart with love and understanding. “The grandmas are the original warriors, wild since birth, loving fiercely./ They have fought so you don’t have to,/ Not in the same ways, at least.” There will be no precincts, nor will there be arrest records, incarceration instead of reason, and the wholesale condemning of children’s souls to a system that controls through fear. Watercolorlike illustrations in close to neon shades show city scenes and a wide array of humanity, some of whom are using wheelchairs, some skipping along. Overhead shots of a table laden with food to fill up bellies till the “soul arrives” demonstrates the connection between want and the breaking down of law. Homage to historic leaders blends as smoothly as the colors of the rainbow-filled scenes, paving the way for readers to conclude that the humor of the title has wisdom as well.
VERDICT A reverie of a book, offering criticism delivered with honey about our current state of affairs. It’s not at all as far-fetched as it sounds.

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