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by Perez Hilton & illustrated by Jen Hill

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-451-23420-9
Publisher: Celebra/Penguin

There aren't any direct references to boys liking boys or girls liking girls in this story about open-mindedness; it simply calls for tolerance for those who may be thought of as "different," such as this boy, who in addition to his startling looks also likes to cook.

There don't seem to be many contemporary books that tackle this topic as effectively as the classic Oliver Button Is a Sissy, by Tomie dePaola (1979), or William's Doll, by Charlotte Zolotow (1972), with the exception of The Sissy Duckling, by Harvey Fierstein (2002). Unfortunately, this one, by another celebrity author, is an almost identical rehash of Duckling's story, in which he is ostracized because he's different, until his differences end up saving the day. Here, the Boy with Pink Hair is teased for his looks, although his enlightened parents are always supportive, encouraging his interest in cooking and not "pester[ing] him to play games that he didn't like." While the message is undoubtedly worthy, it's hard to imagine many kids actually enjoying this transparent, didactic, predictable tale. The arch tone, lessons for parents and the fact that the kids are unnamed ("the Boy with Pink Hair," "the Boy with a Bad Attitude," etc.) distance this from young readers. The bright, painterly illustrations are appealing, but they're not enough to rescue this attempt.

Cheery-looking and well-intentioned, but missing a crucial kid sensibility. (Picture book. 5-8)