In 2014 Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress must have been one of the most edgy books out there. Today, Christine Baldacchino’s book probably seems pretty tame in comparison with what we are talking about today. It is not just about a “boy who wears a dress” but so much more.
While I enjoyed this book, felt it was realistic, I was not a huge fan of the art that Isabelle Malenfant created. Perhaps I was looking for something “less dreamy” looking. Yet, the tone of the story and illustrations fit nicely. The use of color (specifically orange/tangerine) was pleasant. It helps move the story along and is its own character. We see Morris trying to be his best self. He loves certain days because it is pancake day. And others because he gets to go to school. Where, there is a tangerine dress in the dress-up area he just adores. But, of course, there are kids who say, “Boys don’t wear dresses.” And will not play with him/will not let him play with them. One girl even tries to take the dress away from him. And we the reader know that it will all work out, but until then it is a question of how Morris will find a way to be himself and still be able to have friends at school.
This book is cozy. It would help a child who has a sibling who does not fit the gender “norms” or even for a classmate. The thing that I did enjoy the most is that there are no assumptions about Morris. He likes to wear the dress. He has an imagination. Maybe he is (fill in the blank) but that does not matter. What the message is acceptance without being overly preachy. Can be adapted for all ages, but probably best for aged 5 to 8.