cover image Freckleface Strawberry

Freckleface Strawberry

Julianne Moore, Author, LeUyen Pham, Illustrator , illus. by LeUyen Pham. Bloomsbury $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-59990-107-7

Actress Moore's first book for children introduces a girl “who was just like everybody else except for one thing,” which turns out to be two things: she has red hair and “something worse”—freckles. The child finds herself dubbed Freckleface Strawberry, and her peers annoy her with inane remarks: “If you got more freckles, you would be one big freckle, and that would be a tan” and “Can I smell them?” Predictably, she attempts to eradicate her freckles (she tries scrubbing, dousing them with lemon juice and drawing on herself with markers). When nothing works, she resorts to wearing a ski mask, whereupon her friends wonder aloud where she has gone. When she finally removes the hot, itchy mask, the gang announces that they've missed her, prompting her to “smile so wide, she thought she would crack open” and to conclude, “Who cared about having a million freckles when she had a million friends?” In Pham's (Big Sister, Little Sister ) homely cartoons, rendered with a Japanese brush pen and digitally colored, the reddish spots covering the girl's face and arms look like a rash. With both the story and pictures presenting freckles as something of an affliction, freckle-faced readers are likely to wince. Ages 3-8. (Oct.)