Pruett and Soo (Nancy Viau)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Pruett and Soo, written by Nancy Viau and illustrated by Jorge Lacera, a tale of shaking up the status quo.

Robot student Pruett lives a humdrum life on the Planet Monochrome, a place where everyone and everything blends in. He, his family, his classmates, and his teacher all follow very strict rules: be calm. Wear and write in only black, white, or gray. No asking or answering questions, and no zigzagging or playing tag. One day, a new student appears in Pruett’s class: a colorful transfer from the Planet Prismatic named Soo. Soo does everything against the rules – asking questions, coloring in crazy colors, and zigzagging to her heart’s delight – to the horror of Preutt’s classmates and teacher. Pruett feels the urge to join her, but struggles to follow the rules he’s always known. How will Soo adapt to Monochrome’s society… or will she and Pruett lead a change toward the more colorful?

Sweet, if slightly simplistic. This is a pretty classic tale of a newcomer shaking things up for an overly-rigid society, reimagined with a wildly creative and visually appealing interstellar twist. Bringing color to a grayscale world is a pretty common trope, but Viau and Lacera’s unique alien characters and settings give it some spice. There’s also a pleasantly surprising (yet respectful) subtext of challenging authority, especially when it seeks to conform or negate those who lie outside the mainstream. My main issue is with how quickly and effortlessly such a massive societal change takes place, which seems a little naive, even for a picture book. It’s a wonderful notion, but one that feels a little disingenuous to young readers. Other than that, the length was great for a storytime, and JJ did love the colorful artwork and expressive dialogue. Overall, absolutely worth checking out – Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by a representative of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

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