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Lovely Hardcover – Picture Book, October 1, 2017

4.7 out of 5 stars 67 ratings

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Hardcover, Illustrated, Picture Book

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Editorial Reviews


Humorous, colorful illustrations and simple text create a celebration of the many ways people are different., Bank Street College of Education


Love! Love! Love! No classical 'differences' representations, just straight up all kinds of people. A quick read, a fun palette, a cross section, a wonderful message. Well done, you! -- Charity McMaster, Schuler Books & Music

Out of the dozen books in my review pile, my youngest daughter returned to Jess Hong’s book Lovely several times over. It might be Hong’s cheerful and quirky cartoonish illustrations, showing a diversity of people not only with different skin tones but with a range of features: a “sharp” punk rock granny in a spiky jean jacket, for example, or a child with one blue and one brown eye. She liked the hands spelling out “lovely” in American Sign Language, each wearing a ring that also shows its corresponding written letter. Bodies with tattoos, freckles, a pair of braces, fluffy hair and straight, hairy legs in heels – all of these, accompanied by a reassuring label of “lovely.” I think that she also liked the book’s simple message: “lovely is different, weird, and wonderful.” -- Tamiko Nimura, International Examiner

“What is lovely?” asks newcomer Hong at the outset of a book that celebrates seeing the beauty in everyone. She answers her own question by introducing a cavalcade of individuals young and old, with an emphasis on individual. “Lovely is different,” she writes as a girl with heterochromia looks at herself in the mirror. A young white woman in a goth ensemble represents “black,” while a brown-skinned woman with flowing white hair and a garland of flowers signifies “white.” Other opposite pairs include “soft” (a baby clutching a stuffed bear) and “sharp” (an elderly woman with lavender hair, a nose ring, and a spike-covered leather jacket), and spreads featuring arms and legs showcase bodies with tattoos, freckles, vitiligo, and prosthetic limbs. Hong’s digital cartooning is clean and bright, and her portraits casually reflect a diversity of ages, skin colors, abilities, occupations, and family types; a mixed-race gay couple stands opposite a brown-skinned woman carrying her son on her shoulders. It’s easy to see beauty in people simply being themselves in these pages, a clear, direct message that readers can carry into their lives. Ages 4–up., Publishers Weekly

Beauty is said to be in the eye of the beholder, and this book encourages readers to regard everyone as "lovely."In today's world, with increasingly evident diversity in race, ethnicity, gender expression, sexuality, fashion, body shape, abilities, and choices about everything, the author/illustrator presents people of every description in the bold, brightly colored digital illustrations. Opposites are introduced: "black" for a white young woman clad in black and "white" for a young-looking, brown-skinned woman with flowing white hair. "Simple" appears on a tattooed white arm, along with a few designs, while "complex" is written on a brown arm, with what appear to be elaborate mehndi designs (henna designs applied before a South Asian wedding). A white baby is "soft," and an older white woman with purple hair, a spiked denim jacket and choker, a nose ornament, and man y ear decorations is "sharp." A "tall" person with Asian features walks a small dog. A "short" smaller, light-brown-skinned male with green hair has a large dog. A gay interracial male couple face an adoring dark-brown-skinned child and mom. These pages read: "Lovely is you. / Lovely is me." The last double-page spread includes young and old: a white woman in a wheelchair (there is one amputee with a modern prosthetic leg earlier in the book), a goateed man in a bustier, and others of various colors and sizes. "Lovely is different, weird, and wonderful." So reads the caption for a white girl with blonde hair and one blue and one brown eye! A simple book with lots of truth. (Picture book. 3-6), Kirkus

Lovely by Jess Hong is well…lovely! The book asks “What is lovely?” and the illustrations that follow answer that with a diverse group of opposites that are all accepted as lovely. It celebrates being different and more importantly accepting different as lovely. The illustrations are the backbone of this book, and they do a fantastic job at including many of the fabulous differences in the world. -- PIcture Books that Promote Diversity, No Time For Flashcards

Hong celebrates a more open-minded version what lovely means with this very simple and expressive picture book. I won’t spoil the surprises that await inside. What I would recommend is that parents add this to their daily reading stack to raise a generation of kids who see the world as lovely in all its shapes, sizes, colors, and choices. Pre-K – ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher -- Cindy Mitchell, Library Teacher, Kiss the Book

The cartoonlike people on the front cover of this disarming picture book dare readers to think of them as unlovely. Missing teeth, potbellies, pink hair, and concave faces are not features that conventional aesthetic norms appreciate. Yet, Hong’s disarmingly simple proclamation of loveliness challenges those norms. Here difference is lovely in the face of a girl with one blue eye and one brown eye. It is also found in the sharp studs on the leather jacket of a lilac-haired, nose-pierced androgynous youth. Hairy legs in stilettos and a prosthetic foot in a soccer cleat are likewise worthy of admiration. On one double-page spread, six hands in different skin tones―some smooth, one tattooed, and others sprinkled with freckles, moles, or patches of vitiligo―finger spell “l-o-v-e-l-y” in ASL. The book’s message is direct and its text simple. Readers will recognize people they’ve encountered in the world in the smiling faces of these joyous individuals. The stylized, motley multitude gathers on the final spread beneath the uplifting declaration that “We are all . . . lovely.” -- Amina Chaudhri, Booklist

“Lovely,” a debut picture book written and illustrated by Jess Hong, is a lively ode to being different. “What is lovely?” the text asks. “Lovely is different.” A girl with one blue eye and one brown eye looks directly at the viewer. Then comes a series of illustrative plays on words. The word “Black” is next to a white woman wearing black clothes. On the facing page, the word “white” accompanies a black woman with white hair. On other spreads, we see a tall woman walking a short dog (“tall”) opposite a short man walking with a tall dog (“short”), and a red-haired girl with a “fluffy” cat opposite a straight-haired girl with a “sleek” snake. As with any successful picture book, the art in “Lovely” doesn’t just illustrate the text, it expands it. This is why a spread like “Fancy. Sporty. Graceful. Stompy” works so well: Illustrated with four sets of legs ― hairy legs wearing fancy red stilettos, prosthetic legs playing soccer, black legs in pink ballet slippers, and fishnet-stockinged legs in punk-rock platform boots ― it shows the multifarious world in all its glory. . .Tolerance. Inclusion. Compassion. Kindness. Empathy. As the song says, teach your children well ― or better yet, inspire them well. -- R.J. Palacio, NY Times

A celebration of diversity – in all its shapes and sizes! Big, small, curly, straight, loud, quiet, smooth, wrinkly – we are all LOVELY! Colorful, bold illustrations and simple text. This is a great book to build classroom community!, Reading Power Gear

This book gives me hope that the standard of lovely can progress to be inclusive and of real beauty. Imagine if this book's message was the standard definition of what and who is determined to be beautiful. This book gives me hope, goosebumps, and a feeling of being lovely!!! -- Jesica Sweedler DeHart, librarian, Neill Public Library

Product details

  • Lexile Measure : AD70L
  • Item Weight : 8.8 ounces
  • Grade Level : Preschool - 2
  • Hardcover : 32 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 1939547377
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1939547378
  • Product Dimensions : 8.2 x 0.4 x 8.1 inches
  • Publisher : Creston Books; Illustrated Edition (October 1, 2017)
  • Reading level : 4 - 8 years
  • Language: : English
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.7 out of 5 stars 67 ratings