Thursday, June 28, 2012

“Pink! Pink! Pink!” Book Review of Pinkalicious

     Today you will be treated to a guest post by Kasie Whitener from Life on Clemson Road.  She is a writer, process improvement analyst, jack of many trades, and mom to a Pirate Princess named HB.  She is reviewing the book Pinkalicious, the original book which has turned into a 20+ book series and enterprise for author/illustrator Victoria Kann.  

     “I neeeeeeed mmmoooorrrre!” HB whines after I’ve given her two cookies.  I respond, “You get what you get, and you don’t get upset.”  I wish I could thank my Momma or Nana for this clever piece of rhyming reason, but I stole it from somewhere else: Victoria Kann and Elizabeth Kann, authors of the Pinkalicious series.  The protagonist is an imaginative little girl whose favorite color is pink.

     In the series’ first installment, Pinkalicious, mommy and Pinkalicious are making cupcakes.  After waking up from her nap, Pinkalicious asks mommy for more cupcakes, and her mommy delivers the clever line.  It’s akin to “because I said so” and “because I’m the mommy.”

Kasie after too many
pink cupcakes
     Despite the one denial, the little girl manages to overdose on the cupcakes, and the pink coloring in them turns her pink. “My face was pink, my hands were pink and my belly was the color of a sunset.”  Far from frightening Pinkalicious, this predicament is perfect: “I cried because I was so beautiful. I even had pink tears.”

     Her mommy speed-dials the pediatrician who pronounces the girl is suffering from an acute case of Pinkititis.  The doctor prescribes a steady diet of green vegetables to reverse the effects. (The words in italics are the author's fantastic word choices.)

     But Pinkalicious sneaks another cupcake after everyone else goes to bed and turns herself red.  Red, which is not pink, will never do.  Pinkalicious acquiesces and eats the green vegetables to turn back to normal.  I like that Pinkalicious screams “Oh, no! Not RED!” but mostly I like that she does the right thing without telling us it’s the right thing.  Her green diet is self-rescue.  “I knew what I had to do,” she says with the kind of confidence I hope my kid has.

     Pinkalicious may have a subtle message (cupcakes = bad, vegetables = good), but it is not heavy with morality like so many children's books.  Pinkalicious’ mom delivers the clever “you get what you get” line, but she doesn’t coax Pinkalicious to eat her green vegetables.  She doesn't beg Pinkalicious to cure her pinkititis. We don’t see a mommy who is embarrassed of her daughter; in fact, she takes ‘Pinkarella’ to the park.

     It is Pinkalicious who decides to do what is right (after she turns red, of course).  “I ate pickles and spinach, olives and okra. I choked down artichokes, gagged on grapes, and burped up Brussels sprouts.” (We’ll save the wonderful sound of these lines when read aloud for another post on the musical quality of really good kid lit.)

     Her mommy doesn’t even have say “I told you so” at the end.  She just gets a hug when Pinkalicious delivers the great line “I was me, and I was beautiful.”

     In an era when cartoon characters and teeny bopper sitcoms show characters with smart aleck mouths and bad attitudes, it’s nice to see Pinkalicious just be a good (pink) kid. I think her mommy is probably raising her that way. 

-By Kasie Whitener

Thank you Kasie!  I love the 'attaboy for the mommies who give their kids a long enough leash to turn pink.  or dirt brown.  or jello-green.    Don't forget to visit Kasie on Life on Clemson Road.


  1. Thanks for Kassie's guest post Lauri. Kassie, that pic of you in pink is great. Sounds like a bunch of sweet books. Reminds me of Robert Munch books, the ones I read to my children. Now that I have two little granddaughters, I’m really looking forward to discovering more children’s books.

    1. The popular books now are so incredibly hip. I am barely cool enough to read them. It adds to the stress of trying to write a great children's book when the bar is set so high.

    2. Thanks, Veronica. Admittedly, the pink face was against my better judgement ;-)

  2. Thanks for this post, Kasie (& Lauri). I recently heard and started using the line about being upset, but I didn't know that it came from a book. Sounds like a fun/helpful story to read.

    1. Sometimes I feel bad saying it to my kids, because I DO get upset when I don't like what I get too!

  3. Great post! Although I read Pinkalicious to my first graders, I never picked up on the phrase “You get what you get, and you don’t get upset.” I always thought it was coined by the kindergarten teachers before me, since when the kids came to 1st grade, they always spouted it during cupcake party time. It's weird that I didn't notice it because I study picture books.

    I love the Pinkalicious books. I met Victoria Kann at Kindling Words when I was registrar several years ago. Good going, Victoria!

    Lauri, your blog is really neat.


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    1. Donna - Glad you enjoyed the post. My 4 year old is great at repeating the phrase too - but not living by it :)

      Love your post on creating characters.


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