Since there are several books about overcoming your fears, I Will Be Fierce loses a little “punch” to the actual story. However, showing how the everyday can be a bit of a challenge (a bus ride is like facing a multi-headed monster, the big kids are giants, a pack of dogs are dragons) in a mater-of-fact way is slightly unique. And some diversity is shown without “throwing it in your face” or being “preachy” is refreshing. There are kids of all colors, yet not a lot of shapes/sizes or possible religious or physical differences. However, had that been there, that could have overpowered the story of our narrators’ message.
Nidhi Chanani has created modern, bright and detailed illustrations compliment the story that Bea Birdsong has created in I Will Be Fierce. I am not sure why the sweater our young narrator puts on is rainbow (is this saying something about them? Or is it just a “fierce outfit” or their “armor” to go with her “fierce” attitude?) but overall, the story is more traditional than modern. Even with the modern elements (such as dealing with the feelings/fear the narrator has) this has an interesting mis of classical feelings and modern sentiment. These little details help move the story along.
This is Birdsong’s first picture book but will not be their last. I Will Be Fierce sets itself up for sequels or companion texts. The narrator of the story is set up to be a tool to help children to deal with today’s issues.