cover image DAFFODIL


Emily Jenkins, , illus. by Tomek Bogacki. . FSG/Foster, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-374-31676-1

The messages are muddled in this story about a triplet who struggles for self- expression. In a style similar to his illustrations for Five Creatures , also written by Jenkins, Bogacki differentiates the almost identical, round-faced siblings just enough so that careful readers can tell them apart even when their mother finds it difficult. Daffodil's well-intentioned mother makes the triplets wear dresses to match their names—violet for Violet, pink for Rose and, for Daffodil, a "sour, fake-cheerful yellow that reminded Daffodil of pee." Equally well-intentioned adults with "fake-cheerful voices" tease Daffodil, trying to guess her name ("Maybe she's Dandelion, or the Yellow Rose of Texas!"). Jenkins makes refrains of coy phrases, and her depictions of the children's feelings are exaggerated and simplistic. When Daffodil has had enough ("very extremely hugely much, enough"), her tantrum brings unexpected results. "Lucky duck Violet" wishes she could wear pink or yellow, and Rose says, "I hate pink! In fact, I hate it very extremely hugely much." In an abrupt denouement ("Mommy said she was sorry"), the triplets are allowed to choose their own clothes, and "they all [feel] very lucky ducky indeed." On the one hand, the book's theme about individuality seems designed primarily as an object lesson for parents; on the other hand, the rebellion-will-work resolution may not sit well with adults. Ages 4-8. (May)