Pink by Lynne Rickards, Illustrated by Margaret Chamberlain
Patrick the Penguin wakes up one day and his entire body has turned pink. Of course, Patrick is initially disturbed by this inexplicable occurence, since, like most human males, penguin boys do not associate themselves with the color pink. His mother then tells him about flamingos, and Patrick travels to Africa in an attempt to fit in with flamingos since he has been rejected by his black and white penguin brethren.
Patrick soon realizes that living with flamingos is not ideal, since they fly, have long legs and beaks for wading and fishing, and cannot swim or slide on their bellies. The flamingos soon fly away, leaving Patrick to swim home. Upon his return, Patrick brags to his friends about his travels, impressing them so much, they overlook the fact that he still resembles a giant bottle of Pepto Bismol.
In children’s literature, books about individuality are a dime-a-dozen, and most of these books follow the same formula as Pink, which would not stand out if the art were not so fantastic. Chamberlain uses bold bright colors and a simple style that combines cartoonish elements reminiscent of Sandra Boynton and a Mo Willems-like simplicity. Despite the predictable storyline, Pink‘s illustrations elicit verve and silliness from Rickards’ text.
I recommend Pink to children ages 5-8, but only if you are prepared with a creative and satisfying explanation as to how Patrick became pink in the first place. -Dana Zakrzewski