Review of Perfectly Imperfect Mira

Perfectly Imperfect Mira Perfectly Imperfect Mira
by Faith Pray; illus. by the author
Preschool    Little, Brown    40 pp.    g
4/22    978-0-316-54116-9    $17.99

Mira has lots of first days attempting new activities, but fear of failure prevents many second days. Take gymnastics, for example, a sport full of terrible what-if? ­scenarios for an anxious mind: “What if she fell? What if people laughed? What if she did it the wrong way?” Believing that everyone else is better or a “natural” talent, Mira never gives herself a chance; she accepts failure and thinks of herself as a “shadow” since she’s not perfect. One day, all alone at the beach, she practices ­walking—and leaping—on a driftwood log, a makeshift balance beam. She falls but gets back up and tries again. After many more tries, “it wasn’t perfect. But Mira did it.” She may not be an expert, but she can still participate. Pencil, colored-pencil, and watercolor illustrations highlight the character’s frustration and isolation from others. Mira appears against blue backgrounds, while pink-hued bubbles feature the activities from which she has isolated herself. The contrast between the front endpapers (stationary Mira, alone) and back ­endpapers (active Mira, part of a group) hints at growth to come. Give this book to ­perfectionists or to those who feel too anxious to try new things.

From the March/April 2022 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Julie Hakim Azzam

Julie Hakim Azzam is the assistant director of the MFA program in the School of Art at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She holds a PhD in literary and cultrual studies, with a specialization in comparative contemporary postcolonial literature from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and Southeast Asia. Her most recent work focuses on children's literature, stories about immigrants and refugees, and youth coping with disability.

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