Saturday, July 7, 2012

Book Review: "White Flour" by David LaMotte

A while ago, I signed up to be a reviewer for Speakeasy.  It's a pretty sweet deal: you get free books that look interesting to you, and in exchange, you agree to write a review on your blog within 30 days of receiving the book.  The first book I got was a picture book called White Flour, written by David LaMotte and illustrated by Jenn Hales.
I tried reading it to my two year old, but she didn't sit through it all. That's not surprising; it's a bit abstract for a toddler.  The story is written in Dr. Seuss-esque rhyme (although I don't think anyone can rhyme like the good doctor).  It is based on true events that happened in 2007 in Knoxville, TN.  A group of white supremacists and Neo-Nazis (represented in this book by hooded Klansmen) comes to town for a rally.  Instead of finding a counter-rally of screaming citizens, they are greeted by the Coup Clutz Clowns, who take the Klansmen's chant of "WHITE POWER!" and turn it into "WHITE FLOUR!" "WHITE FLOWERS!"  "TIGHT SHOWERS!" and "WIFE POWER!" accompanied by various props and gags for each.  The illustrations are bright and whimsical.  I think that some of the lines come off as stilted in their attempt to rhyme difficult things.  But over all, it's a pretty lighthearted book touching on a serious topic.
I'm going to be the librarian at my school in the upcoming school year, and I was wondering about how/when/if to read this aloud.  I think that it would probably be best for the 2nd/3rd grade age range. K/1st might still be too young to get what's going on, but the 7-9 year old age range is usually up for books that have some weight to them.  I'll check back in after I've read it to them and post their reaction.