Review of Ordinary Days: The Seeds, Sound, and City That Grew Prince Rogers Nelson

Ordinary Days: The Seeds, Sound, and City That Grew Prince Rogers Nelson Ordinary Days: The Seeds, Sound, and City That Grew Prince Rogers Nelson
by Angela Joy; illus. by Jacqueline Alcántara
Primary, Intermediate    Roaring Brook    32 pp.
10/23    9781250797032    $19.99
e-book ed.  9781250357663    $11.99

This lyrical look at the young life of an enigmatic musician follows Prince through his challenging youth and shows how community support helped him channel hard times into music. The rhythm of Joy’s (Choosing Brave, rev. 9/22) poetic text matches the rhythm of Prince’s early life, feeling sometimes disjointed as he drifts through a tumultuous childhood and suddenly becomes steady as he finds his way to the style that became known as the Minneapolis Sound. Alcántara’s (most recently, illustrator of Climb On!, rev. 5/22) washes of watercolor echo the text’s progression, starting with more muted blue tones including peeks of Prince’s iconic purple, eventually resolving into a glorious celebration of deep purples as his music develops. Joy’s telling of Prince’s childhood will resonate with young people who use art to find meaning in difficult days. An author’s note relates biographical information more directly; back matter also notes Joy’s own connection to Prince and his music and includes a family-friendly playlist of his songs.

From the November/December 2023 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Laura Koenig

Laura Koenig is the Team Leader for Central Library Children's Services at the Boston Public Library.

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