Candy Pink

Adela Turin, trans. from the Italian by Martin Hyams, illus. by Nella Bosnia. NubeOcho (Consortium, dist.), $15.95 (40p) ISBN 978-84-944318-9-0
Originally published in Italy in 1976, Turin’s tale of an elephant who doesn’t conform to her society’s gender roles returns in a newly translated edition. “Once upon a time, in elephant country,” Turin begins, female elephants had “large bright eyes and skin the color of candy pink”; the males are gray. There’s a gauzy delicacy and precision to Bosnia’s elegant images of the elephants, verdant landscapes, and assorted birds, butterfly, and deer, yet everything about the female elephants’ lives speaks of regulation and control: their diets are limited to the anemones and peonies that give them their rosy color, they are trussed up with pink booties and lace collars, and they’re confined to the fenced-in garden where the flowers grow. Daisy, however, remains stubbornly gray, upsetting her parents. Eventually, she casts off her ribbons and boots entirely for a life of playing in the grass and splashing in the mud like her male peers; the other girl elephants quickly follow suit. An unsubtle narrative ensures that there’s no missing the message, but Turin’s story could easily start conversations about social norms, gender equality, and fairness. Ages 5–up. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/03/2016
Release date: 11/01/2016
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