From Publishers Weekly
Aiming to inspire young readers, the Lees (Please, Baby, Please) speak directly to them: "On some days your dreams may seem too far away to realize. Listen to the whispers of those that came before...." Each page contains an encouraging thought and invokes the deeds of a hero. "Press on through the darkness and keep going--the way the freedom fighter encouraged the enslaved to ride the railroad to safety so that all could be free." The reference is to Harriet Tubman; the heroes are unnamed, but quotations from (and attributions for) each appear on the endpapers, and they're easy to match up, letting the book function both as a source of inspiration and as an interactive quiz about such figures as Jesse Owens, Mother Teresa, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Barack Obama. Qualls's bold, lively collages (Little Cloud and Lady Wind) handle the book's abstractions gracefully. A curly-haired boy contemplates a long stairway; intricate lines curl out of a book of Langston Hughes's poetry; a red snake represents fear. Concluding with a challenge, the Lees ask, "What's your next step going to be?" All ages. (Jan.)
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From School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-This motivational book braces readers for the obstacles that come along when following one's dreams. The endpapers have 12 quotes from various people, including Mother Teresa, Jean-Michel Basquiat, the Tuskegee Airmen, and neurosurgeon Ben Carson. On the title page, a child with black curly hair looks up a staircase. The narration that follows is directed toward the youngster. "Listen to the whispers of those that came before....They made giant steps to make the world a better place and left big shoes for you to fill." Neither names nor portraits pepper the spreads; instead, visual metaphors and advice extrapolated from the experiences of the individuals are quoted: "If you stare at a painting and do not see yourself there, paint your own portrait. Let the world see that you do exist...." The spreads have key verbs in a larger typeface to emphasize actions that lead to change ("Press on," "make a plan"), and the abstract, mixed-media paintings with bits of collage are vivid with meaning. Suspense sets in when the giant steps turn into segments of a red dragon eliciting the fears that threaten all those who dream of a better world. Expert pacing ensues, bringing the narrator to ask the child, and all readers by extension, the resounding and evocative question, "What's your next step going to be?"-Sara Lissa Paulson, American Sign Language and English Lower School PS 347, New York City (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.