Maria’s clothes always match the occasion as well as her accessories, but she’s about to “lose [her] matchy-matchy mind.”
The book’s beautiful, flowery cover foreshadows the world Maria lives in. In the living room Maria’s outfit blends in with the print of the comfy chair she’s sitting in. At school her laces, lunchbox, backpack, and even the barrettes holding back her black hair match. One comical two-page spread shows Maria’s flowery yellow underwear matching her dress. Maria’s problem here, though, is not the outfits: It’s her mom. “My mom picks out all of my clothes. She makes everyone…and everything match.” Maria longs to mix it up, and in her fight for the right to self-expression, she rebels, conceals, debates, and marches. Finally, Mom concedes, even wearing her own unmatchy outfit: “Polka dots and petunias!” By the end of the book, Maria exults that “this is me. Marvelous, unmatching, mix-it-up me!” McGill’s humorous illustrations mix patterns, textiles, and collage to great effect. Readers might want to pair this book with Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match/Marisol McDonald no combina, by Monica Brown and illustrated by Sara Palacios (2011), for a look at another child who rejoices in her individuality. Maria and her mother have black hair and olive skin; her school friends have a variety of skin and hair colors.
As Maria shows, some things are worth fighting for. (Picture book. 5-7)