This quirky—odd, even—paean to female self-respect preaches too baldly and too briefly.
“Some people say Ink-blot is badly drawn,” and readers might think so, with her scribbled hair and misshapen eyes. But the artist immediately launches into a rant about how most girls worry about their hair, their size, their ears or freckles, every part of their bodies. Page after page, girls with exaggerated features rendered in bold, expressive colors catalog their supposed failings, until readers return to Ink-blot, who may “really [be] BADLY DRAWN” but who “COULDN’T CARE LESS! She’s too busy having fun.” It is as unvarnished a piece as can be imagined, and to what end? To say, as the author does, that “we know that most girls think… / they’re badly drawn” neither comforts nor exalts (and may not be true). The pictures are very ugly indeed, and while this may be a transgressive and rebellious artistic act, it comes off the page as off-putting in the extreme. Moreover, as the message is aimed at preteen girls, the picture-book format seems an ineffective way to reach them.
This didactic little piece will likely leave readers puzzled rather than liberated. (Picture book. 7-11)