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Friday, April 3, 2015

Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress, written by Christine Baldacchino and illustrated by Isabelle Malenfant. A Groundwood Book, 2014. $16.95 ages 5 and up

"Mondays are great, too,
because on Mondays,
Morris goes to school.
Morris likes lots of things
about school.
He likes to paint.
He likes to do puzzles.
He likes the apple juice
at snack time
and singing the loudest
during circle time."

Morris has favorite things at home, and at school. The dress-up centre at school is filled with a multitude of outfits; Morris loves the tangerine dress. There is so much that attracts him to it: the brilliant color, the sounds it makes as he walks and sits down. The children in his class are quick to make fun of his choice. Morris pretends not to hear. Every day there is a new reason for a boy not to wear that beautiful dress, or have painted fingernails. It gives Morris a real ache in his stomach.

Saturday and Sunday provide time for puzzles, books, dreams, and painting. The weekend is just what Morris needs. Returning to school on Monday with his painting in hand, Morris doesn't mind that the boys won't let him travel on their spaceship. He can build his own, and he can decorate it with his artwork. Those friends then have questions that Morris happily answers. Soon, they are all exploring the place in space that comes from his imagination.

"By the time they returned to Earth, Eli and Henry had decided
that it didn't matter if astronauts wore dresses of not.
The best astronauts were the ones who knew
where all the good adventures were hiding.
Morris smiled. He already knew that."

When Becky demands her time with the dress, Morris shares it in a gracious and generous way.

Tender and charming, this a book that honors imagination and individuality in lovely moments. The scenes created by Isabelle Malenfant, using charcoal, watercolor, pastel and Adobe Photoshop, are glorious in both color and design. The scenes she creates will certainly capture the attention of her audience and those who share this uplifting story.

Be yourself, be awesome and allow others to be the same! Morris is, and does.

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