Much has been written about Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul. She has literally moved millions, with her 3 octave vocal range, her passionate voice expressing her love of religion and humanity. R-E-S-P-E-C-T, a new picture book poetic biography by iNK author/poet Carole Boston Weatherford shows how less may be the new "more." The format suggests that the target audience is preschool to grade three. However, I loved it for me!
Weatherford and illustrator Frank Morrison have brought Aretha Franklin's story to life with the fewest possible words, each one lovingly chosen for double page, lushly painted, brilliant art. Each painting is worthy of study and discovery. The art, spelled word, and the on-topic rhyming couplet deliver a powerful experience illuminating the essence of Franklin's life. As a wordsmith for children, Weatherford focuses on the spelling of important words beginning with the title. Yes, R-E-S-P-E-C-T is actually spelled out as the title of the book as it is in the actual song, one of Franklin's greatest hits.
Here's Weatherford's summation of how Aretha Franklin fought for civil rights:
For the civil rights movement for racial equality
Aretha raises funds and gives concerts for free."
Weatherford's Author's Note a the back of the book is a more detailed summery of Franklin's life of music. She also provides a list of Aretha Franklin's greatest hits.
The book, is an invitation search YouTube, which is rife with videos that introduce a child or reacquaint adults with the astonishing effect of the Queen of Soul on an audience.