Putnam. Aug. 2022. 48p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781984813961.
Gr 2-4–A celebration of children and what they may become as successful adults, written by Newbery Medal-winning de la Peña, beautifully illustrated by Luyken (The Book of Mistakes) and also available in Spanish, Retazos. De la Peña starts Patchwork on a modern note of inclusivity, with a gender reveal party with blue cake filling, which proves all wrong for a child whose paint brush hovers over pink paint and who grows into an artist who loves brown. The book is composed of two- to four-page vignettes that focus on character traits or skills developed in childhood and used in adulthood: math in dance leads to a career in coding, the bouncing of a basketball to the rhythm of poetry, kindness to classmates to a leadership position. Luyken’s art reinforces the message of “mismatched scraps stitched together” into a kind of patchwork with pastel squares of color, and includes children of light to dark skin tones with an effective use of white space through gouache, ink, and pencil. While her artwork follows the words of the text, the vignettes are hard to follow. The theme of affirmation is lost as the vignettes abruptly veer from one child to another without an easily understood common denominator.
VERDICT The sentiments are lovely but may not land for most children.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing