Pink Is for Boys
Pink Is for Boys by Robb Pearlman is a delight. The title alone is reason enough to open the book. Since it has been clear for years that boys are not supposed to like pink, the topic is intriguing.
The story starts out with a rhyme scheme of A, B, C, C, but it quickly ends. As the author goes through each color stating that it is for both boys and girls (alternating with girls and boys), the words are sparse yet effective. The entire book only has 132 words. The best lines are “Orange is for girls./ And boys./And popsicles dribbling down sticky chins.”
The color purple is the only page that needs a second read. “Purple is for boys./And girls./And unicorns, because . . . unicorns!” The author doesn’t explain that unicorns are awesome, but the meaning eventually gets through.
The color words are written in their appropriate colors. The end papers look like paint splatter with cans of paint and dirty paintbrushes on the floor. There is an extra pink page at the beginning and at the end of the book.
The art by Eda Kaban is cartoonish but in a good way (think Peanuts characters). It is multicultural and all inclusive. Most pages only have one girl and one boy on them. The last spread shows white, black, and Asian children, some in glasses, plus one in a wheelchair. One boy has a big wide mouth, so maybe he is representing an ADHD child? The only kid missing is a heavy blind one.
The illustrator left plenty of white space on the double page spreads that introduce the color. The following double spread fills the pages with that color. The alternating back and forth of white space, then no white space, is pleasing to the eye.
This book appears to be simplistic, but a lot of thought has gone into the design. Now if only the world would read it and leave little boys alone when they want the pink bowl and who don’t mind riding their sister’s hand-me-down bike or trike. American kids are programmed to say, “No, you’re a boy; you can’t like pink.” Only a few brave men will buy a pink dress shirt.
Maybe this book will start a change in the way we perceive the world and in the way we do those baby gender reveal parties where the guests bite into a cupcake with pink or blue filling. The new trend could be purple filling with a unicorn on top, because . . . unicorns!