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PINK IS FOR BOYS

In this picture book, pink may be for boys, but colors are still not quite for everyone.

Pink, blue, yellow, and orange—all colors that are for boys, girls, popsicles, and unicorns.

With simple text and vibrant illustrations of racially diverse children playing together, this book introduces 10 colors “for boys. And girls.” For each new color, Pearlman shares an example of where to find the color: on sports uniforms, crowns, race cars, and teddy bears. Each color is presented in simple, repetitive text on verso (alternating which gender as specified first) with a vignette on recto and then on the next, full-bleed double-page spread. Kaban’s illustrations of children dancing, running, and flying on winged unicorns add an element of liveliness to keep the repetition from turning stale. Colored type that corresponds with the name of each introduced color encourages young readers to participate in the story. Although the book shares the message that “all colors are for everyone,” the lead-up to this conclusion perpetuates the notion that gender is binary. The statement that “PINK [or blue, yellow, etc.] is for boys. And girls” leaves out anyone who might not fit those categories until the end. Even the examples for pink and blue reinforce stereotypical associations for the colors, since pink is for “bows on fancy clothes” and blue is for “uniforms on a team.” For a book that aims at inclusiveness, this one misses the bull’s-eye.

In this picture book, pink may be for boys, but colors are still not quite for everyone. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7624-6247-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Running Press Kids

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORD WILL BE DADA

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.

A succession of animal dads do their best to teach their young to say “Dada” in this picture-book vehicle for Fallon.

A grumpy bull says, “DADA!”; his calf moos back. A sad-looking ram insists, “DADA!”; his lamb baas back. A duck, a bee, a dog, a rabbit, a cat, a mouse, a donkey, a pig, a frog, a rooster, and a horse all fail similarly, spread by spread. A final two-spread sequence finds all of the animals arrayed across the pages, dads on the verso and children on the recto. All the text prior to this point has been either iterations of “Dada” or animal sounds in dialogue bubbles; here, narrative text states, “Now everybody get in line, let’s say it together one more time….” Upon the turn of the page, the animal dads gaze round-eyed as their young across the gutter all cry, “DADA!” (except the duckling, who says, “quack”). Ordóñez's illustrations have a bland, digital look, compositions hardly varying with the characters, although the pastel-colored backgrounds change. The punch line fails from a design standpoint, as the sudden, single-bubble chorus of “DADA” appears to be emanating from background features rather than the baby animals’ mouths (only some of which, on close inspection, appear to be open). It also fails to be funny.

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-00934-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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PERFECTLY NORMAN

From the Big Bright Feelings series

A heartwarming story about facing fears and acceptance.

A boy with wings learns to be himself and inspires others like him to soar, too.

Norman, a “perfectly normal” boy, never dreamed he might grow wings. Afraid of what his parents might say, he hides his new wings under a big, stuffy coat. Although the coat hides his wings from the world, Norman no longer finds joy in bathtime, playing at the park, swimming, or birthday parties. With the gentle encouragement of his parents, who see his sadness, Norman finds the courage to come out of hiding and soar. Percival (The Magic Looking Glass, 2017, etc.) depicts Norman with light skin and dark hair. Black-and-white illustrations show his father with dark skin and hair and his mother as white. The contrast of black-and-white illustrations with splashes of bright color complements the story’s theme. While Norman tries to be “normal,” the world and people around him look black and gray, but his coat stands out in yellow. Birds pop from the page in pink, green, and blue, emphasizing the joy and beauty of flying free. The final spread, full of bright color and multiracial children in flight, sets the mood for Norman’s realization on the last page that there is “no such thing as perfectly normal,” but he can be “perfectly Norman.”

A heartwarming story about facing fears and acceptance. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68119-785-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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