A young boy discovers that his loud voice is (mostly) not appreciated at school.
Redheaded Freckleface Strawberry, blond Noah, large and loud Windy Pants Patrick (all white), and brown-skinned Winnie (possibly Southeast Asian) have enjoyed playing (and shouting) all summer long. They have jumped through the sprinkler, savored ice cream treats, and participated in outdoor games. Now it’s time to return to school. Most of the children adapt easily to their teachers’ and classmates’ expectations. But Windy Pants Patrick finds himself being shushed in the classroom, the lunchroom, and the library. Not until he gets to music class does being louder than the rest work to his advantage. Pham’s digitally colored Japanese brush-pen artwork is energetic and cheerful with a decidedly retro feel. As in other titles in the series, however, white characters are stark white, which contrasts oddly with the more realistic skin tones of Asian and black individuals. The mildly amusing premise is likewise hampered by the shortcomings of Moore’s text. Changes in typeface and font and a multiplicity of exclamation points attempt to add excitement, but short, repetitive, declarative sentences dominate, giving it a choppy feel.
Fans of Freckleface Strawberry and her friends will welcome their return, but better stories about school, friendship, and embracing individuality abound. (Picture book. 5-7)