[Reviewed from Copy Courtesy of Tillbury House Publishers]
Most People is a picture book that gives the gift of perspective and reassurance. This picture book, with its beautifully illustrated friendly faces and thoughtful portraits of people, is here to help calm the anxious and reaffirm the hopeful. It’s a picture book that impresses upon us that most people want to be good, do the right thing, and that they want to see you happy, too.
“Most People love to smile. Most people love to laugh. Most People love to see other people smile and laugh too. Most people are good people.”
Most People takes place over the course of a day and is told in a third-person perspective. Sentences generally begin with, “Most people…” The first two scenes are of two different families eating breakfast. We then see a city scene that includes an elderly woman walking across a street, a person who is blind walking with their guide dog, a couple getting directions from the police, a person we presume homeless pushing a cart, a woman cooling a pie on a window ledge, a man playing a ukulele, a young girl that has fallen from her bike, and people rushing to help her.
We then see a man, who may look a bit intimidating but is clearly polite, waiting for an elderly woman to get onto a bus before he does.
We see scenes of a child stealing, someone using an expletive (symbols are used), a trash can turned over, glass broken, and a woman about to clean up a graffitied wall. We are assured by the end of this spread that, “But most people don’t do those things.”The artist, Jennifer Morris, does a fantastic job in the next spread giving us a visual demonstration of what it would look like if we, “lined up all the people who want to be good and all the people who want to be bad.” You see very clearly how many more people in this world want to be good than bad. And honestly, but humorously, it shows all the bad people crowded in a dark room together. My eldest took this scene to heart and said, “You’d better stay out of that room!”
We’re then treated to a scene of the previous child who stole returning the fruit and apologizing. We’re reminded that people can change, even when they’ve done something bad. We see another scene of characters working in an urban community garden. From the community garden, a little girl spies another girl sitting on the steps with a scowl on her face. She goes over to her and gives her a flower and we’re told that people would rather be happy.
Next we come upon a scene of a fire truck going by. We’re told that when you see something bad, you’ll soon find people there to help and that the helper may just be you! My boys both lit up. Between seeing a firetruck and the assurance that they may be the ones helping, they were seriously excited. It spoke directly to them and affirmed that they may end up being the helpers they so much want to be.
We then see people being kind to one another, dancing, hugging their dog, reading to their children, giving a person a pie, smiling at babies, coming home and hugging. Most People ends with an urban landscape of all of the characters that we’ve been introduced to enjoying their evening either together or on their own.
Most People is a well-thought-out and crafted picture book. You can tell that the author was inspired to put something out in the world to counter all of the attention that negative behavior gets.
It is a wonderfully diverse and inclusive picture book that skillfully and warmly shows a wide variety of races, abilities, ages, and economic situations. Most People takes special care to include some commonly hurtful stereotypes and shows them being kind, considerate, and polite. Most People implores us to watch people’s actions rather than their appearances and to remember that most people, most of the time, are in fact good.
Most People skillfully re-centers a skewed perspective and calls to that part of you and your children that knows that goodness prevails. It’s a lovely picture book that upon reading feels like taking a much needed breath and helps us to see things a bit more clearly.
Recommended Ages 4 to 8. Tillbury House Publishers. August 2017. 32 pages. ISBN: 978-0884485544 Non-Fiction.
Where to Get it:
Where Obtained: I received a review copy from the publisher. No other compensation was received. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
FTC Disclosures: Some of the links in the post above are Amazon affiliate links and others are IndieBound affiliate links. If you click on the link and purchase something, I will receive an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you. Which goes to fund my family’s picture book habit. It’s a vicious cycle, but we manage. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”