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Comment: Good clean copy with no missing pages might be an ex library copy; may contain some notes and or highlighting.
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Something Beautiful Paperback – January 8, 2002

4.8 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This moving picture book offers a shining testament to the ability of human beings to find "something beautiful" in even the most unlikely places. An African American girl initially sees only the ugliness of her neighborhood. There is "trash in the courtyard and a broken bottle that looks like fallen stars." On her front door, someone has scrawled the word "DIE," and a homeless lady "sleeps on the sidewalk, wrapped in plastic." Searching for something beautiful?"something that when you have it, your heart is happy"?she polls various neighbors. For an old man it is the touch of a smooth stone; for Miss Delphine, it's the taste of the fried fish sandwich in her diner; for Aunt Carolyn, it's the sound of her baby's laugh. When the girl decides to create her own "something beautiful," she picks up the trash, scrubs her door clean and realizes, "I feel powerful." Wyeth's (Always My Dad) restrained text is thoughtful without being didactic. She creates a city landscape that is neither too dark nor too sweet; and her ending is just right, with the heroine's mother saying that her daughter is her "something beautiful." Soentpiet's (Peacebound Trains) paintings are luminously lifelike. Whether depicting the girl running past a chain-link fence in a dark alley or Miss Delphine's patrons sitting beneath the rows of glinting glasses, the paintings focus on a community with characters so real, readers can almost feel the sunlight on their faces. All ages.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 2-4-Looking at the trash and graffiti in the courtyard outside her inner-city apartment, a young African-American girl wishes for something beautiful. As she walks home from school, she asks friends and neighbors what their "something beautiful" is, and gets a delightful array of answers: Sybil's jump rope, old Mr. Sims's smooth stone, Aunt Carolyn's baby's laugh, the fried fish sandwiches Miss Delphine serves at her diner. Back home, the girl cleans up her trash-filled courtyard and resolves to help make her own neighborhood into something beautiful. Told in the child's voice, the text captures the curiosity and resilient spirit of childhood. The paintings, rich with realistic detail, begin with dark, sometimes spooky images of a world filled with broken bottles and chain-link fences, then move to brighter, happier scenes peopled with the friendly faces of the neighborhood. Inner-city children will appreciate this believable, upbeat depiction of a community and may be inspired to seek out something beautiful of their own. This engaging picture book could spark discussion about what "beautiful" means to children in any neighborhood.
Dawn Amsberry, formerly at Oakland Public Library, CA
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 3 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 2
  • Lexile Measure: 410L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Dragonfly Books; Reprint edition (January 8, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440412102
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440412106
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 0.2 x 10.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #64,041 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Catherine S. Vodrey on August 25, 2002
Format: Paperback
Sharon Dennis Wyeth's 1998 book "Something Beautiful" was inspired by her own memories of growing up in a place which was, perhaps, not as beautiful as she would have liked. We follow an unnamed little girl through her neighborhood as she looks for something beautiful as a teacher has instructed her to do. What we see is litter, broken windows, scary graffiti, homeless people, and more. But the little girl manages to find out from everyone she asks what they find beautiful around them. She is variously given the examples of a fish sandwich, a jump rope, some apples at a fruit market, and even a smooth, heavy stone a neighbor carries for good luck. The best and most beautiful example, though, comes from the little girl's mother--and her reply ends the book on a lovely note.
Chris Soentpiet's watercolor illustrations are nothing short of remarkable. They are nearly photographic in their detail and lifelike aspect, and they give a visual rhythm to the text. He is to be commended for his ability to combine both an unflinching look at a downtrodden neighborhood and examples of how we all can find beauty everyday, if we look hard enough.
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By Sarah on December 12, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is probably one of my most favorite picture books. I teach 5th grade and read this every year. My kids sit in silence as I read it. It has beautiful pictures, is wonderfully written and has an amazing message... that no matter what you are going through or where you live, there is something beautiful in your life. My students come from poverty and low-income families, and I hope this book helps them see that they are too beautiful. (and I truly think it does!)
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Format: Paperback
My daughter received a copy of this from her "Classroom Library"- where the teacher sends books home with the kids to read. They agree to read the book and return in within two days. She is excited about this "library" and we jumped in the bed to read this book. The first thing that caught me was the illustration... POWERFUL and so REALISTIC. The details in the pictures and the surrounding area gave this book life.

The message that the book imparted upon us was also a good one. Beauty is sometimes right in front of us, and its important that our children learn that we can make something beautiful by our conduct. The child decided to look outside her door and turn what was once ugly (bottles, litter, vandalism)- clean it up and make it beautiful. She decided to become INVOLVED which is something my daughters school try to the children. This book reinforces that-- which makes it a wonderful choice for our family.

I came to Amazon (my second home) to purchase this book for our home library, and I plan to find more books from this author and build a collection
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Format: Hardcover
My favorite part of the story is when the girl helped the lady who lived on the sidewalk and when she cleaned up the courtyard. Chris Soentpiet's bright color is so colorful and outstanding. His pictures tell me the story. His pictures are so extraordinary, very incredible pictures. The illustrations are so magnificent. Could Chris Soentpiet illustrate my books? I'm in 3rd grade and I have written 100 books at home and at school. I give this book 5 stars.
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Format: Paperback
I think that Chris Soenpiet's illustrations are definitely awesome. He adds very good details and I like how he paints real things that are in our lifetime. But my favorite story is Something Beautiful. It's about this little girl who is trying to find something that is beautiful in her neighborhood that is covered with graffiti. She finds out that she is the beautiful person and that it doesn't matter what you look like on the outside, but it matters on the inside and that her momma loves her anyway. For all children who think that they aren't beautiful that would love to read this book.
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Format: Hardcover
I came across this book at a reading exposition in an inner city school. This is the story of a little girl who comes from drab environs. Her neighborhood, her surroundings look very grim to her. But she talks to her teacher, who conveys a powerful lesson, which is that although it may be hidden, there is beauty all around us, even in school classrooms, crowded neighborhoods, and elsewhere.
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By elfdart on April 30, 2008
Format: Paperback
this story teaches kids that they have the power to create their own beauty and bring it to their lives. the girl in this book walk around her house and sees some not very nice things, including some not so nice graffiti on a door, and the reader gets a sense of her unease. then she goes to school and her teacher teaches the class the word beautiful, which is described as something, when you have it, that makes your heart happy. so she goes around the neighbourhood asking people what is beautiful to them, and various responses are given. finally the little girl goes back to the graffiti and erases it, making a bit of beauty come into her own world. after that it ends on a sweet note with her mother. i think this a good book to read to a child to teach them that they have the power to make a positive change in the world, and that for every cloudy day there is an optimistic sun hiding unseen that is capable of showing itself to those who look for it.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It is such a beautifully illustrated book. I like that the situation is very urban and poor. I work as a counselor in a Catholic urban school 4th thru 8th grades. I will use this book as a guidance lesson in all five grades. It is such a nice message. The message is that there is beauty everywhere even when we can't initially see it. Even when our environment is full of litter and graffiti. We have only to look for it. And, of course, the beauty that is most important is the beauty within us. I love this book.
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