Some kids call him “Mixed-up Mike,” but the protagonist makes clear that he isn’t mixed-up at all—just mixed.
With his curly, red zigzag hair, tan skin and green eyes, Mike likes to skateboard and go fast inside and outside, wearing a colorful patchwork cape. The kids at school tell him that his parents don’t match, and other people stare at them when they’re out as a family. But Mike loves his deep-brown, bald-headed dad and his cream-and-honey, red-haired mom, and clearly they love him too. What’s more, they declare that they mixed Mike perfectly “and got you JUST RIGHT!” Mike’s confidence in his own appearance and coolness as well as the way he proudly embodies diversity, including a certain level of androgyny, make this a refreshing read. Evans’ integration of rough-textured fabrics into lively and colorful mixed-media illustrations will make readers want to reach out and touch them. Readers will also find this an easy book to set to music or rap, thanks to its rhyme and cadence. The takeaway message remains one that all children need to embrace: “I’m doing my thing, so don’t forget it. / If you don’t get it, then you don’t get it.”
If all kids had the confidence about who they are that Mike has, what a wonderful world this would be. (Picture book. 3-8)