“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|
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.