Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress by Christine Baldacchino, illustrated by Isabelle Malenfant
Morris is a little boy who loves using his imagination. But most of all, Morris loves wearing the tangerine dress in his classroom's dress-up center. The children in Morris's class don t understand. Dresses, they say, are for girls. And Morris certainly isn t welcome in the spaceship some of his classmates are building. Astronauts, they say, don't wear dresses. One day when Morris feels all alone and sick from their taunts, his mother lets him stay home from school. Morris dreams of a fantastic space adventure with his cat, Moo. Inspired by his dream, Morris paints the incredible scene he saw and brings it with him to school. He builds his own spaceship, hangs his painting on the front of it and takes two of his classmates on an outer space adventure.
What I love most about this picture book is the theme to be authentic. It's okay to be different. It's okay to not conform to the strict 'rules' about gender. (At one point, girls tease Morris because his fingernails are painted.)
Morris' Mom is super-supportive throughout, which is reassuring to readers. And the kids come around... most of them, anyway.
I never had a passion for a tangerine dress, but reading about how Morris stayed true to himself and ultimately got the respect of his peers would have given me strength to be MYself. I loved reading it now. And I wish this picture book had been read to me when I was a little kid!
My thanks to Yapha for the recommendation! Oh, and this was an ALA Stonewall Honor book!
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