Pink is Not a Color (Lindsay Ward)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Pink is Not a Color by Lindsay Ward, an identity-affirming follow-up to This Book is Gray.

Seeing her friends the Primary and Secondary colors setting up for a party, popular Pink offers to help. She’s excited to hear about the festivities for the upcoming “Rainbow Extravaganza,” and wonders why she’s never heard of it before. The answer is, as Orange notes, a bit awkward: Pink is technically not a color of the rainbow. This sends Pink for a loop; she’s never really thought about her place in the color spectrum before, and it’s confusing to realize that she is not a rainbow color. After learning a bit more about tints (her classification) and shades from Brown, she feels better, yet still confused. Does being a tint make her less important than the primary colors? At last, she runs into Gray – an achromatic color and subject of the previous book in the serious – and confesses to having a “midcolor crisis.” Will Pink ever find her place in the world of color?

A creative look at identity. Based on the very real debate as to pink’s classification as a color, which the author-illustrator gives a little background on in the author’s note, Ward manages to weave a fascinating and approachable consideration of what our identities mean to us, and how our self-concept can relate to and be informed by them. Like many who can have their self-image shaken when exploring their identities, Pink struggles with the idea that she may be a “less important” color, or even not a color at all. Remembering how much joy she brings to people helps her remember her worth, and it’s honestly very touching. I especially liked that Ward mixed in some less-expected uses for the color Pink for the character to feel proud of, like dinosaurs, soccer balls, and a microscope; while Pink uses she/her pronouns, it’s good to remember that the actual color has no gender. In addition, there’s a beginner lesson in here on color theory, and one that even many adult readers will find enlightening. The length is perfect for a storytime, and JJ really enjoyed it. A very cool and creative way to explore an important message, and we loved it. 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.)

The Paper Bag Princess (Robert Munsch)

Hello, friends! Today, we’re reading The Paper Bag Princess, written by Robert Munsch and illustrated by Michael Martchenko, a phenomenal tale of a fearsome dragon and a brave princess.

Elizabeth is a beautiful princess who lives in a stately palace and dresses in fine clothes. She is betrothed to a handsome prince named Ronald, who seems to be her match in every way. One day, a terrible dragon comes and attacks the palace, burning it and everything inside to the ground and kidnapping Prince Ronald. Elizabeth knows what she must do: she sets off to defeat the dragon and retrieve Ronald, clad in the only thing she can find that hasn’t been burnt up, a paper bag. Using her wits, she manipulates the dragon into leaving his lair unattended, then sneaks inside to rescue Ronald. But upon seeing her singed and ragged appearance, Ronald criticizes and insults her, telling her to come back when she looks more like a princess. Without missing a beat, Elizabeth dumps the shallow Prince, and skips off to live happily ever after without him.

This book is a must for any little girl’s library, and it’s a favorite of ours. Elizabeth’s strong will, quick mind and unshakeable self-esteem make her a fantastic princess for little ones to look up to. This is a book that celebrates a girl’s worth beyond her appearance, and shows girls that they should always know their value – and not waste their time on people who do not appreciate it. The art is classic, fun storybook fare that supports the major plot points well. The length is fine, and JJ loves it. A feminist gem for little readers to enjoy, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

Zero (Kathryn Otoshi)

Hello everyone! Our book today is Zero by Kathryn Otoshi, a numbers book that’s part counting, part confidence, and all about finding value.

Zero is a big round number, and she feels a bit empty inside. All the other numbers have value, they can all count together, and Zero feels left out. After all, you can’t count Zero. She tries to make herself look like the other numbers, but no matter how she tries, she’s always just herself. The other numbers want to help, but they aren’t sure how to. Can Zero find the value in herself and be happy with who she is?

We really enjoyed this one. JJ is a whiz at her numbers, so she was very excited to identify and count the brightly colored 1-9 throughout the book. But beyond the numbers is a sweet story about body types, fitting in, and finding self-worth. Zero’s journey feels like one that so many of us have taken in finding our own unique talents and what we bring to the table. This makes it a rare book that can really grow with a child, from simply learning to count as a baby, on to learning to count on themselves as they become older. The illustrations are simple yet striking, and give the numbers, which are anthropomorphized in the vein of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, a lot of unique personality. This is a really cool book that little readers can enjoy and benefit from for years, and we liked it a lot. Baby Bookworm approved!