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)