Looking Like Me
by Myers, Walter Dean; Myers, Christopher (ILT)

In a picture book about self-esteem and growing up with an urban beat, Jeremy sets out to discover all the different people that make him who he is, including brother, son, writer, and runner.

Walter Dean Myers is a writer, a photography collector, a flute player, a cat owner, a Harlem native, a former basketball player, a husband, and a father. You can visit him at www.walterdeanmyers.net.

Christopher Myers is an artist, a writer, a photographer, a clothes designer, a Brooklynite, a former baseball player, and a son.

*Starred Review* Walt Whitman once wrote, "I contain multitudes," and that important concept is brilliantly interpreted here by the Myers' father-son partnership. The elder Myers' rhythmic poem celebrates a young Everyman from Harlem who looks in the mirror to "see a real handsome dude looking just like me." Moving through the city, he encounters family and friends who share their points of view: "Along came my sister, / fine as she can be. / 'Hey, Jeremy,' she said, / 'You're little brother to me.'" Each helps him see that he is a valued artist, runner, dreamer, and more, and that he has a lot to give to himself and the world. The innovative art and design represent different identities with colorful silhouettes placed against photos of people, places, and icons. Sometimes the connections are more obvious, like the photo of a sun, which plays on the word son, and there is an image of a stingray accompanying Jeremy's reference to himself as "a silver-rayed moonbeamer"; other images, such as Buddha heads, giraffes, and ketchup bottles, suggest more abstract connections. The overall effect is that of performers in front of a huge screen of rapidly changing images at a pop concert or a video game, and blocks of solid color provide visual rest and keep the gutters clear. This very contemporary work is encouraging, energetic, and inspired. Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.

The Myerses-father and son-reunite for a poetic celebration of self that blends a sort of Whitman-esque hip-hop with '70s-vibe visuals. Adapting the cumulative cadences of Bill Martin's Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, Walter Dean Myers's text immediately establishes a preeminent self-affirmation: "I looked in the mirror / And what did I see? / A real handsome dude looking just like me." Narrator Jeremy hears from a succession of family, neighbors and community members and adds role after role to his portfolio. He's a brother, son, writer, city kid, artist, dancer, talker, runner, dreamer: "Looked in the mirror- / I look like a crowd." Christopher Myers overlays eclectic photo collages with stylized, silhouetted figures in saturated hues of chartreuse, butternut, chocolate, magenta and more. The text's two upper-case typefaces look like gritty, spray-painted stencils and whimsical woodcuts. There's a touch of call-and-response in the refrain ("He put out his fist. / I gave it a BAM!") that begs to be read aloud. This vibrant synthesis of poetry and pictures is a natural for classrooms and family sharing. (author's note, not seen) (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus 2009 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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