The Boy with Pink Hair

Perez Hilton, illus. by Jen Hill. Penguin/Celebra, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-451-23420-9
Celebrity blogger Hilton makes his debut with a book blurbed by, among others, Lady Gaga ("I wish, when I was young, I had a book as touching and beautiful as this to teach me about the journey of self-acceptance"), and brimming with admirable intentions. But a plea for understanding and tolerance, however necessary, does not a children's book make. Hilton writes as if he's working from a checklist imported from the Ideal World: the Boy's model parents love him unconditionally, "didn't pester him to play games that he didn't like," and encourage his cooking talents by building him a kitchen-equipped tree house. He has little faith in readers' ability to read between the lines ("he followed his own special dream and was happy to be just who he was"). He won't even let his hero have a simple triumph—the Boy not only saves Parents Day with his cooking, but also gets his creations on a restaurant menu. Hill, an animator also making her debut, fares better: her stylish, boldly brush-stroked vignettes exude a funny franticness, and her bigheaded, eager-eyed characters will feel instantly familiar. Ages 3–5. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/04/2011
Release date: 09/01/2011
Genre: Children's
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