Thursday, September 17, 2020

Review - Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress

Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress

by Christine Baldacchino
illustrated by Isabelle Malenfant
Date: 2014
Publisher: Groundwood Books
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: e-book
Source: library

Morris has a great imagination. He paints amazing pictures and he loves his classroom's dress-up center, especially the tangerine dress. It reminds him of tigers, the sun and his mother's hair.

The other children don't understand--dresses, they say, are for girls. And Morris certainly isn't welcome in the spaceship his classmates are building--astronauts, they say, don't wear dresses.

One day Morris has a tummy ache, and his mother lets him stay home from school. He stays in bed reading about elephants, and her dreams about a space adventure with his cat, Moo. Inspired by his dream, Morris paints a fantastic picture, and everything begins to change when he takes it to school.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

Kids can be little stinkers. Especially when they're so steeped in gender stereotypes that they make other kids' lives miserable. Gender is kind of weird, if you think about it. Based on the bodies we're born with, society assigns us a set of rules that we're supposed to follow. And if you don't follow them... well, trouble often ensues.

That's the case here for Morris, who absolutely adores the tangerine dress in his classroom's dress-up center. It swishes and crinkles and reminds him of his mom's hair. But the other kids don't get it. The girls make fun of him. The boys refuse to engage with him, afraid they'll end up as girls if they play with a boy in a dress. Morris ends up with a stomachache and stays home from school. But then he paints a picture about a grand adventure and ends up sharing that with the other kids... who come to realize that it doesn't matter what you're wearing, as long as you're having fun.

The message is nice. I like the way that Morris's affection for the dress was tied into his love for other things that the dress reminded him of (his mother, tigers, etc.). The pictures highlight the text well.

Overall, this is a good story that teaches compassion, empathy, and kindness. Oh, and that astronauts can so wear dresses.

Quotable moment:

Premise: 4/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 3/5
Illustrations: 3/5
Originality: 3/5

Enjoyment: 4/5

Overall: 3.5 out of 5

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