Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Priscilla and the Pink Planet by Nathaniel Hobbie, illustrated by Jocelyn Hobbie

Priscilla and the Pink Planet by Nathaniel Hobbie, illustrated by Jocelyn Hobbie

Rating: 4 stars

Anyone with a daughter understands what I mean when I talk about an explosion of pink.  It started with the (very lovely) baby shower before she was born.  An eruption of pink!  As someone who was not a girly-girl growing up, it was a bit of a shock then.  I'm lucky to have two boys to balance out the pink.  Because of them, I appreciate the pink--and all of the other girly-girl stuff that that single color represents--a whole lot more.

That is exactly what this book is about--appreciating differences!  It definitely made me smile.

Here's the world o' pink...
Priscilla is an adventuresome girl who lives on the Pink Planet.  Everything on the planet is, you've guessed it, pink!  "Pink apples, pink bananas, pink oranges, too. / Pink bicycles, pink rubber on the sole of your shoe. / Pink rivers.  Pink fish.  Pink grass and pink sky. / Pink is all you can see, no matter how hard you try."  That's a whole lotta pink.  Lorelei (and 98.4 percent of all 5 year old girls) would be in heaven!

But Priscilla decides, a la Edna in A Penguin Story, that there must be more color in this world, and she sets off to find it.  She searches and searches, overcoming this obstacle and that, until she runs into a TRULY colorful butterfly.  She follows the butterfly until SNATCH! he is caught in a net by...the Great Queen of Pink!  She haughtily explains: " 'Now look, little girl, just what do you think?! / Don't you know who I am?!  I'm the Great Queen of Pink! / This whole planet is mine, ocean and land, / and unwelcome visitors are one thing I can't stand!' "

...and here's the world o' color.  Better, don't you think?
Priscilla really wants more colors, but she knows she can't just argue with the queen.  Instead, she sits down to tea and outwits the queen by explaining that if all of the colors were out for all to see, that "pink would look even pinker."  So true!  Contrast is everything!

The illustrations by Jocelyn Hobbie are outstanding.  They are fun and busy, jam-packed with little details that make my kids' eyes linger over them until each little detail is discovered.  The animals and people are friendly and cheerful, and Priscilla is quite the character--she seems fun but not snotty, adventurous but not bratty.   And the post-pink world pictures are so much more vibrant, because of the added colors, that I think Lorelei and Ben really DO see and appreciate the idea of contrasting colors, and, hopefully (maybe just maybe!) contrasting differences in things besides color.

The fact that these books are long poems are such a bonus.  They are so much more fun to read, and now I realize how rhymes help Lorelei practice her pronunciation without anyone else around.  Nice little bonus to books that are already getting rave reviews in my house.  We've read a few of the sequels--Priscilla Superstar! and Priscilla and the Splish-Splash Surprise--and will be ordering the rest from our library soon.

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