#976 – Beautiful by Stacy McAnulty and Joanne Lew-Vriethoff

beautiful-cover Beautiful
Written by Stacy McAnulty
Illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff
Running Press Kids   9/06/2016
32 pages    Ages 4—8

“It’s all about
your clothes,
your hair,
your style,

“Every girl is
and loveable. . . . .

“Every girl is

The beautiful, young girls are friends. The multicultural girls “have the perfect look.” They are enthusiastic, intelligent, creative, and clever. When together, the girls enjoy the outdoors. They beautify the yard with fragrant flowers and enjoy animated adventures. Like many kids, the “beautiful girls love to look in the mirror and spend time with beautiful people.”
2The illustrations are gorgeous—they really are beautiful. The first spread, there are five quite beautiful little girls looking over the fence. Turn the page to see the other side of the fence, which will not be what most readers expect to see. Are these girls still beautiful? They do appear more like boys, who have had a fun day. Even the cat smiles at these girls.

Inclusivity is a huge topic today in regards to children’s books.

“WE NEED MORE DIVERSITY!” has been an oft-heard cry of late. Many factions have decried the lack of diversity in children’s books. Here it is.

Beautiful gives you the diversity readers have called out for in picture books. The six main characters have varying skin tones; one must use a wheelchair, yet still plays basketball against another team full of wheelchair-playing girls; a third girl is running to a base and slides. This unexpected in many younger leagues. (Many girl’s leagues have ruled sliding has not disallowed—yet, often sliding into a base is the safest move for all concerned), but the slide is surprising when the player is a girl.
1There is more. There is a hunk of gold in this image: the girl not only slides . . . she slides HEAD FIRST! Lew-Vriethoff knows her stuff. And, right above the spectacular images of sports-playing girls, McAnulty adds the line, “Beautiful girls move gracefully.” Yes, they certainly do move gracefully, as this is required when playing soccer, baseball, football, and wheelchair-basketball. But Beautiful is not about girls being boys. It is about girls being themselves. If that includes wanting to do things boys traditionally do, then so be it. These girls are true to themselves.

Make no mistake; these are beautiful young girls, who will become beautiful young woman. They are also scientists, athletes, naturalists, friends, and soon-to-be-wives and mothers. Beautiful celebrates young girls being themselves and celebrating their ability to become sho them want to become. They know who they are and do not want to be anyone else. Society should not force girls into a mold. The Beautiful text is simple, yet tells a huge tale of childhood for girls. Brilliantly conceived, written, and illustrated.
3What is the point of Beautiful? Each spread expresses how beautiful the young girls are, simply by being themselves, not someone others may want them to be or become. BEAUTIFUL shows readers how young girls can indeed act naturally, expecting nothing but a genuine experience. We should all be so lucky.

BEAUTIFUL. Text copyright © 2016 by Stacy McAnulty. Illustrations copyright © 2016 by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Running Press Kids, Philadelphia, PA.

AmazonIndie BooksRunning Press Kids

Find Beautiful on Goodreads HERE.

Reprinted with permission from BEAUTIFUL © 2016 by Stacy McAnulty, Running Press Kids, an imprint of Running Press Books Group, Illustrations © 2016 by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff.





Copyright © 2016 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

Written by Stacy McAnulty
Illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff
Running Press Kids 9/06/2016


5 thoughts on “#976 – Beautiful by Stacy McAnulty and Joanne Lew-Vriethoff

  1. It sounds like a really good way to teach kids the many meanings of the word “beautiful,” because, unfortunately, it’s the “visual” that’s thought of first. I’m thinking this is a book most/all readers will be drawn to 🙂 Nice review, Sue!


  2. I loved this book! I like how the text and the illustrations play off of each other – the text goes with it, but seems more like it is the “stereotypical text”, while the illustrations agree…in a different way. 🙂


  3. What a wonderful book for girls. I love the theme about beauty is about who you are. There are no gender stereotypes.

    Thank you for the books. I was quite surprised. They arrived Monday.


    • I love this book. It is not what one will expect looking at the cover. It is refreshing.

      I’m so glad you liked the assortment. My procrastination is embarrassing. I tried to think of the books you liked–usually they were for a little someone in your life. I hope they give you wonderful memories reading to the kids in your life.


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