Named a Coretta Scott King Honor Book as well as an ALA Notable Book, this touching collection of 13 poems about two African American girls named Zuri Jackson and Danitra Brown, is a refreshing and illuminating way to convey a portrait of friendship.
From the point of view of Zuri, readers are introduced to Danitra Brown, "the most splendiferous girl in town," who wears purple, from her head down to her toes, every single day. There are reasons why this is so, Zuri tells readers: Danitra might be a princess, she can take bullies on with no sweat, she's the fastest bike rider on the whole block, she helps Zuri with her chores, and she's going to win the Nobel Prize someday. Through Zuri's proud, but unsentimental voice, Danitra is portrayed as a spirited, spunky kid who can deal with whatever life has to give her. In turn, Danitra but is also very considerate of emotional Zuri's vulnerability. The two make a wonderful pair: they both have qualities that bring out the best in each another.
Not everything is perfect, however: Danitra is taunted for wearing thick glasses; Zuri feels bad that her dad is never around to care for her, and some neighborhood kids tease Danitra about her dark skin. But although these girls live in a world filled with problems and prejudices, Danitra and Zuri deal well with each as they happen. The lovely and lush oil-wash illustrations capture and complement energy of the poems, and capture the characters' emotions. Although these characters are African-American, the theme of friendship through struggle that Grimes conveys is universal, and, in this book, is brought to vibrant life.