I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
picture book in Hardcover edition that was published by G.P. Putnam's Books for Young Readers on September 14, 2014 and has 40 pages.
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Illustrator: Christopher Myers
A standalone story that is inspired by Misty Copeland’s own rise as a ballerina.
In 2015, Firebird won the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award and the Ezra Jack Keats Book Award New Writer Honor. In 2014, it was voted an NPR Best Book, an Amazon Best Book for Ages 6–8 as well as Amazon Best Book of the Month [September], and was Essence Magazine’s Best Children’s Book. To be fair, I suspect most of these awards are because it’s written by a black ballerina with a young black heroine. No, I’m not trying to be nasty. I’m simply unimpressed with the supposed “story”.
The inside end papers are a collage of textures from yellow to deepest orange. The inside graphics are similar to the cover with its modern blocks a collage of texture and color. I did love the collage effect of odd shapes of paper that make up the sky, the skyline, the water, the pavement and windows. The stage floor and the red curtain were amazing!
My favorite parts of this book are those graphics AND the fact that the young and aspiring ballerina is a young black girl. If you’re looking for a book with a black protagonist…this…is one.
Unfortunately, this is the best I can say of the book. The story itself reads more like a puff piece for Copeland with all her I, I, I. Why not give this story a sense of the personal in the young dancer? I’m rating it as a “3” simply because Myers’ graphics are so amazing, but unfortunately pulled down by Copeland’s writing.
Misty thinks back over her own career as a ballerina, especially her role as the Firebird.
Misty Copeland and a young, aspiring dancer.
The Cover and Title
The cover is a study in contrasts with its moderne blocks of pastel purple, blue, pink, and orange with a slash of firebird/ballerina a bright orange flame leaping across it. The author’s and illustrator’s names in deep purple are emblazoned across the top with a deeply flaming title flourishing in a curve across the bottom left.
The title is a role for which Misty Copeland became famous, the Firebird.