52 of 60 people found the following review helpful
Nourish your child's intellect... cautiously,
This review is from: Life Doesn't Frighten Me (Hardcover)
As an adult and a student, I was truly enchanted by this unique concatenation of Maya Angelou's spirited, optimistic poetry and Jean-Michel Basquiat's bold, explosive paintings. "Life" is less a story than an affirmation - the child narrator (whose gender is left to the imagination) lists a dozen or so items that could be causes for concern in young child's mind, but then conquers these fears with "They don't frighten me at all." Equally impressive are the brief, but detailed biographical sketches of both artists that closes the book.
My only reservation lies in the question "Who is this book really for?" While Basquiat's dynamic use of line and color and space make for fascinating pictures, and his style is consciously influenced by the artwork of Native Americans and small children, his habitual use of skeletal imagery and jagged, leering facial expressions might prove too intense for little ones. On the other hand, the beautiful simplicity of Angelou's poetry will probably fail to appeal to kids who are experienced enough to expect a certain level of plot in their reading.
My advice to parents is this: don't give this book to your kids - buy it for yourselves, and keep it someplace where it won't get all trashed up by dirty little hands. When you think they're ready, let your youngsters look at this book with you, so if the pictures should strike them the wrong way, you'll be there for them. Better not do this at bedtime until you're sure how they'll react - this could be the stuff nightmares are made of. But even if they love it, hang on to the book yourself, so that in a couple of years when your child loses interest (they may begin to see it as a "baby book"), you'll still have a beautiful coffee-table book of post-modernist art to share with your friends. And eventually, your kids might grow up into little intellectuals who can see what a delightful creation this book really is. It may not be perfect for anyone, but it certainly has something for everyone.