I Am Famous (Tara Luebbe & Becky Cattie)

Hello, friends! Our book today is I Am Famous, written by Tara Luebbe and Becky Cattie and illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff, a tale of a precocious young starlet and her life of glitz and glamour.

Kiely has been famous all her life. She’s a singer, and actress AND a dancer, plus a style icon and social media star. The paparazzi – also known as her parents – follow her everywhere, always there to capture her latest forays into fabulousity. But when a performance at her grandparents’ party has a few hiccups, will Kiely ever be able to recover her iconic reputation? Or do her fans/family simply love her for being who she is?

There were things about this that I really liked: I enjoyed most of Kiely’s narrative, mostly her unapologetically flaunting what makes her feel special – especially since she is a young black girl with confidence and self-esteem. The art is great as well, using bright colors and dramatic gestures and expressions to play up Kiely’s diva side. However, there were a few cringeworthy moments: her father cowering before her with an offering as she frowns in disapproval, a drawing of her shoving her mother in the face during a tantrum, depictions of her parents filming her with cell phones both in the bathtub and on a training potty, the letter being shared on social media. All three are played for comedy, but the implications are odd. We’re in an age in which children do become “stars” of social media, even to the public at large, but this raises the question of what impact this has on them, and what is and isn’t suitable to share. And while I’m obviously not against sharing my child on social media, there were a few moments in the story that gave me pause on whether Kiely or her parents were behaving appropriately. It’s a judgement call, so I’m calling this one Baby Bookworm approved – with an asterisk.

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by a representative of the author in exchange for an honest review.)

2 thoughts on “I Am Famous (Tara Luebbe & Becky Cattie)

  1. Johnell DeWitt says:

    Great review. There’s so much truth in comedy. The situations you mentioned are excellent to consider, which is why I suspect they are in there–it gives us a view of ourselves and makes us ask questions, like the ones you did. As a parent, I see myself in this story, and my kids too, and I love that it paints my foibles in a way that I can safely analyze them. I hope it does the same for children. It could certainly be a great talking point with children to see what they think about Kiely’s behavior. It’s an effective way for the children to teach themselves without having Mom or Dad spell it out for them. Your logo is so stinkin’ cute, btw. Kudos to the artist. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebabybookworm says:

      And ultimately that’s why we decided on an approval rating – while I may not personally agree with some of the parenting/child behavior shown in the story, even then, it could serve as a useful tool to discuss with children what is and isn’t appropriate.

      Parenting in the age of digital and social media certainly does have its foibles, and I think there is a definite range of gray area where each family must decide for themselves what is shareable – I have friends who share nearly every single aspect of their child’s life online, and friends who refuse to even post pictures of their kids at all – and I don’t believe that either stance is necessarily wrong, though I don’t personally share it. So while some of the “paparazzi” jokes seemed cringe-y to me, other families may either enjoy and indentify with it, or see it as a useful cautionary tale. It’s definitely a subjective issue, and up to the readers to decide.

      And thank you kindly for complimenting our logo! The artist is the immensely talented Amelia Lola, and more of her work can be found on Tumblr and Instagram (@machodoodle on both).

      Liked by 1 person

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