Beautiful by Stacy McAnulty was published around 2016. “Back in the day” when books for girl power were still somewhat new. Therefore, reading this gem now feels a little cliched. However, it is still relevant and a kick-butt tale.
This dual aspect made me think I would love to see the reverse side of the story for boys. Have him “be tough” as he gently plays with a doll. Or “proper attire” and is in top hat and tails (of course, if he/they wish to have a nice gown that is fine too. I am not looking to change the world, just show the concept from the other side of things. Therefore, if you know of one, please let me know).
Because what we see with the boldly, bright, sweet, funny, goofy illustrations by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff is how a beautiful girl “should be.” She should have her hair always in place (with mud sticking out every way). She should smell like flowers (as she is digging in the dirt planting them). She should sing like a songbird (as she screeches from the swing as she flies by on her stomach). She should be graceful (as she makes a steal of the basketball from her wheelchair). She should always be properly dressed (with dirt on her pants, socks falling off, and her pirate sword attached to her belt as her tiara shines from her head).
This idea of a beautiful girl makes the world a beautiful place is clever, accessible, and funny. The illustrations as said are bright and completely tie it all together by showing how things “should” really be.