Inspired by how illustrator Lopez and his wife, Candice, helped enliven their San Diego neighborhood through art, Campoy and Howell introduce Mira, a young artist who sees possibilities in blank paper and loves to give away her pictures ("She gave a songbird to Mr. Sax and a red heart to the policeman who walked up and down the streets"). Mira finds a kindred spirit in a joyful muralist: "Maybe... something beautiful," he thinks as he looks at a painting Mira has taped to a dreary wall. As Mira begins contributing her own murals, others join in. Somber gray buildings are soon replaced by electric shades of pink, blue, and orange--the bold shapes, vivid colors, and flattened tableaus of Lopez's mixed-media artwork bring a mural-like atmosphere to every page as Campoy and Howell deliver a clear, uplifting message about the power of art to revitalize people and their surroundings. Ages 4-7. Agency: Full Circle Literary. (Apr.)Copyright 2016 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.
PreS-Gr 2—In a town that is dismal and austere, Mira offers her neighbor her joy—art. After Mira hands out some of her paintings, a muralist takes notice of her work. Eventually Mira, the muralist, and the diverse community come together to make their town a beautiful work of art. Lopez's illustrations dominate the landscape of the book and depict the characters' movements in a painterly style. Warm colors portray the community's efforts to brighten their neighborhood and contrast with the more muted tones used to depict the desolate cityscape. The illustrations are rendered with acrylic paints on wood, along with digital tools to layer photos and other objects to create Mira's neighborhood. The prose feels somewhat distant from the charming artwork and themes. The narrative was inspired by an actual event, as noted in the back matter, but the text does not fully transmit the heartwarming story of the powerful influence of art. VERDICT An additional purchase, especially where the artist's work is popular.—Briana Moore, School Library JournalCopyright 2016 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.