This alphabet book glides on the style of viral country-trap superstar Lil Nas X.
By now just about everyone must know the words to 2019’s ever present “Old Town Road.” Those who follow Lil Nas X closely may also recall the initial rejection he weathered as a Black artist who sought to blend hip-hop and country. Even deeper, his courage in publicly declaring and living his gay identity and his hilarious social media antics have buoyed his fame. X’s brand of joyousness, boldness, and abundant love follow through in this alphabet book that presents a day in the life of a child Lil Nas X on his ranch. There’s the expected animals (horses, cows, rabbits), “dirt” (letter D), and beautiful sunset landscapes (featuring that famous road for the letter O). But remember, this is Lil Nas X, so there’s also his gaudy “swag” (letter S), “fake fur” (letter F), signature “hats” (letter H), and stylish “boots” (letter B). Coretta Scott King John Steptoe Award winner Taylor provides the illustrations, taking a (mostly) realistic approach to depicting a pint-sized artist amid his beautiful family. Assuredly, Lil Nas X was trolling when he tweeted that this endeavor would the “the best kids book of all time,” but it delivers on expanding the boundary-busting, genre-blending, self-defining, positive-energy universe that Lil Nas X is building for his youthful fan base. And that’s probably enough. (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-22-inch double-page spreads viewed at 57.4% of actual size.)
Sure to excite the youngest fans of Lil Nas X.
(Picture book. 4-7)
Pub Date: today
Page Count: 40
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2020
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021