________________ CM . . . . Volume XIV . . . . August 31, 2007



Nan Gregory. Illustrated by Luc Melanson.
Toronto, ON: Groundwood/House of Anansi Press, 2007.
32 pp., cloth, $17.95.
ISBN 978-0-88899-781-4.

Kindergarten-grade 6 / Ages 5-11.

Review by Jeannette Timmerman.

**** /4

Reviewed from f&g’s.


Vivi is dizzy with wanting pink. The kind Merrillee and Miranda and Janine have. "The Pinks," Vivi calls them, but not out loud. Every day at school they parade their glory - from hair bows to tippy toes, every shade of perfect pink.


     Pink is a tale that will capture children and adults alike with its story of Vivi who longs to own something perfectly pink. When Vivi talks to her mom about The Pinks owning all the pink, her mother tells her there is enough pink for everyone. Then the baby takes her mom's attention, and she doesn't hear any more of Vivi's comments. When Vivi talks to her dad about "perfect pink," he points out the pink in her cheeks. She feels that neither of her parents understands her burning desire to own something perfectly pink.

     Vivi’s mom cleans the halls in the apartment block where they live to help make ends meet. Her dad is a long-distance truck driver. One winter's day, Vivi passes a store with a bride doll dressed in pink - something The Pinks don't have. She longs to own the doll, and the next day she takes her piggy bank to the store in order to buy it; however, she finds out that she'll have to save much, much more money. With suggestions from her parents, Vivi begins to do errands for the neighbours to earn money. As her savings grow, she feels that the doll is hers and tells The Pinks about it .

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     In the spring, Vivi's mother suggests the family have a pink day, and they do: a picnic with cranberry tea, sandwiches with raspberry jam, stops at a pink flowering tree, little cakes iced pink from the bakery, a list of all the pink that they see. As they relax, Dad tells about his dream to have lights to outline his truck but laughs and says it is too costly for him. On the way home, they go by the store to see the pink doll, but one of The Pinks is leaving with it. Vivi is heartbroken.

     At home, her dad plays his harmonica, and Vivi dances. Then he tells her that in life a person can't have everything they want. But Vivi feels that she just did.

     Nan Gregory is an award-winning author and professional storyteller. Luc Melanson has illustrated a number of children's books, including one that won a Governor General's Award. His illustrations for Pink were done digitally. They are spare in design which suits the story. They brilliantly catch the emotions shown by all of the characters with the colours used often reflecting the emotion by being dull or bright.

     This story would catch the attention of students in Kindergarten to Grade 3 and would naturally lead to many areas for discussion. However, because of the many layers of meaning in the book, I believe that it could be used as a jumping off story up to Grade 6 to introduce discussions and study themes on peer pressure, wants versus needs, how family love is demonstrated, saving up for what one wants instead of expecting instant gratification, growing up, and finding what one wants in an unexpected event.
Highly Recommended.

Jeannette Timmerman is a former teacher, consultant and administrator in the Winnipeg (MB) School Division.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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