cover image Pink!


Lynne Rickards, , illus. by Margaret Chamberlain. . Scholastic/Chicken House, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-545-08608-0

Patrick the penguin awakens one morning to find he’s inexplicably turned pink “from head to foot.” “Boys can’t be pink!” he declares in all-capital letters. The doctor has no explanation (none is ever offered), but Patrick’s dad points out that flamingos in Africa are pink and “at least half” are boys. Tired of being teased, Patrick swims to Africa and tries, unsuccessfully, to fit in with the friendly flamingos. Returning home, he is welcomed and respected for his adventure, and happily resigns himself to being forever pink: “Being different wasn’t so bad after all.” Although Chamberlain’s comical illustrations suit the exclamatory tone of the text, the book is loud and busy. Blurring a retro message about gender coding with a lesson about “difference,” the story fails to inspire sympathy for Patrick or offer solace to kids who might share Patrick’s feelings. Design choices don’t help; the erratic placement of text turns many pages into a jumble of words fighting for space with the images. Ages 4–8. (Jan.)