PINK IS NOT A COLOR

Pink has an identity crisis.

When Pink (an anthropomorphic pink shape with stick arms and legs, wearing cowboy boots and a unicorn horn) hears about the Rainbow Extravaganza from the Primaries and the Secondaries, she wonders why she’s never been involved before. “This is awkward,” frets Orange as Pink confronts the fact that although the others don’t mean to exclude her out of cruelty, she doesn’t belong in the color spectrum. Pink departs and encounters a group of Tints. Next, color theory intertwines with narrative to teach readers about relationships between colors: Text spoken by Brown (who later identifies themselves as a Shade, or a color mixed with black) explains that Tints are colors mixed with white and that Pink belongs to that group along with Coral, Mint, Lavender, Buttercup, and Sky. Despite Brown’s efforts, however, Pink is still having a “midcolor crisis,” but then Gray, an achromatic color and the protagonist of Ward’s earlier title This Book Is Gray, provides reassurance, saying, “Well, you’re definitely a color in my book,” cleverly alluding to Pink’s cameo appearance in that picture book while also supporting her struggle to define herself in this one. With Gray’s help, Pink embraces her Tint identity, saying, “I’m a happy color. And happiness is for everyone.” Who could argue with that? Ward’s cast of colors, pink-cheeked and wearing accessories, speak in color-coded speech bubbles; appropriately, pink hues dominate the exuberant art. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A rosy take on selfhood. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5420-2686-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

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A solid if message-driven conversation starter about the hard parts of learning.

THE MAGICAL YET

Children realize their dreams one step at a time in this story about growth mindset.

A child crashes and damages a new bicycle on a dark, rainy day. Attempting a wheelie, the novice cyclist falls onto the sidewalk, grimacing, and, having internalized this setback as failure, vows to never ride again but to “walk…forever.” Then the unnamed protagonist happens upon a glowing orb in the forest, a “thought rearranger-er”—a luminous pink fairy called the Magical Yet. This Yet reminds the child of past accomplishments and encourages perseverance. The second-person rhyming couplets remind readers that mistakes are part of learning and that with patience and effort, children can achieve. Readers see the protagonist learn to ride the bike before a flash-forward shows the child as a capable college graduate confidently designing a sleek new bike. This book shines with diversity: racial, ethnic, ability, and gender. The gender-indeterminate protagonist has light brown skin and exuberant curly locks; Amid the bustling secondary cast, one child uses a prosthesis, and another wears hijab. At no point in the text is the Yet defined as a metaphor for a growth mindset; adults reading with younger children will likely need to clarify this abstract lesson. The artwork is powerful and detailed—pay special attention to the endpapers that progress to show the Yet at work.

A solid if message-driven conversation starter about the hard parts of learning. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-368-02562-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion/LBYR

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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Hee haw.

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THE WONKY DONKEY

The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2018

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