I had hoped to like R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul by Carole Boston Weatherford a bit more than I did. Perhaps my desire to like it “a lot” made it impossible for the result to live up to my expectations. Yet in the end, I enjoyed reading this glimpse into Franklin’s world. It just will probably not be on my top ten of favorite picture books I read this year list.
This book is simple, but not simplistic. We see the life and times of Franklin. We see her family, her growing up, the issues her family faced and her activism. Each page has a world that represent Franklin’s life, events, personality, and traits. Each word representing Franklin is written out in the “spelled out” way Respect is sung.
The oversized pages are filled from top to bottom and side to side. The words are in the center of deep, rich colors and unique details. Frank Morrison illustrated the life of a woman in a way that is both romantic and strong. It is a bit of a romantic book, in the sense that it is an homage to the person spoken about.
I just enjoyed this book. I am glad I took it out of library. It is not something I would want for my collection. However, I was thinking, “If I need a gift….” and listed names of people who would adore it. It is good for a library, a classroom and for a younger child looking for a book that gives a little information but is not a biography of Aretha Franklin. The large picture book size might turn a few people off, but it is a any age book in the end.