In the midst of detailed articles, an award-winning documentary (Won’t You Be My Neighbor?), and an acclaimed feature film (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood), this picture book biography about Fred Rogers not only holds its own but adds to the body of quality media paying tribute to an exemplary life. Opening with a depiction of Rogers’ iconic set for Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood—complete with his familiar sneakers sitting unlaced by the bench—it flashes back to Rogers’ childhood. With beautiful alliterations, the biography describes Rogers’ discovery of music as an outlet for his strong emotions: “Worry fretted and fussed . . . and faded.” And “Sadness wailed and whimpered . . . and waned.” The story also notes the impact of his Grandfather McFeely’s reassurance: “You made this day a really special day just by being yourself . . . and I happen to like you just the way you are.” Tracking Rogers’ life through influential episodes in high school, college, and early television programming, it climaxes with Rogers’ visit to the U.S. Capitol, where his recital of his song “What Do You Do with the Mad That You Feel?” secures public funding for Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood for years to come. Throughout, Renauld skillfully weaves memorable stories with Rogers’ theme of coping with emotions, while Barrager’s gouache and colored-pencil illustrations are whimsical and fittingly full of emotion, displayed literally on many pages with waves of hearts and lines flowing from Rogers.
The “Thoughtful Citizen” badge is awarded to recognize exceptional books that promote exemplary citizenship.
The “Everyday Core Feeling” badge is awarded to exceptional books addressing common but powerful feelings.
"Many families will welcome the affirming messages in this affectionate portrait.”
"Renauld’s lively, approachable text welcomes young readers in the same way that Rogers welcomed his young viewers into his living-room set. . . . Bold colors spotlight each spread, especially an array of individual panels that illustrate the feelings children experience daily. . . . Bright, well-researched, and welcome."
Brigette Barrager is an award-winning artist, character designer, illustrator and writer of children’s books, best known for illustrating the best-selling Uni the Unicorn. Brigette earned a degree in Character Animation from the California Institute of the Arts, where she now teaches. She is always in search of stories that are both emotionally resonant and whimsical. Brigette lives and works in Los Angeles with her handsome husband Sean, a grumpy little dog, and two rascally gray kitties. www.brigetteb.com • @missbrigette (Instagram)
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