Thursday, February 25, 2010


Sometimes, ideas for books just tickle me...well, pink.

Pinkalicious, the title character, eats too many pink cupcakes and voila! She turns pink from head to toe. She is thrilled. "I was so beautiful, I cried." she says. Then she runs around yelling "I'm Pinkerbelle! Look at me, I'm Pinkerbelle!"

Her mother takes her to the doctor, who prescribes a diet of green food to cure her "pinkititis." Yuck! No way Pinkalicious is signing up for that. She sneaks one more pink cupcake and wakes up...RED! Oh no, this won't do. She buckles down, eats her greens, and returns to normal.

If you have a 3-5 year old who loves pink, this book will be an instant hit, and deservedly so. It's charming, funny, and a pleasure to read.

Enter Purplicous.

Purplicious is not charming. In fact, it's rather appalling, especially following on the heels of something as sweet as Pinkalicious. It loses the light, humorous tone that made Pinkalicious so readable and gives us some mean girls, picking on Pinkalicious for her love of pink. Yes, Pink goes on to meet a girl who loves purple and admits that perhaps there's more to life than pink, but it seems to me that they've completely misjudged the target audience. The publisher lists this one as a book for 5-8 year olds, but I can't see many 7 or 8 year olds with this book. It's a preschool/kindergarten book --maybe up to age 6 -- and as such the mean-girl behavior is bewildering to kids -- why would anyone be so mean about liking pink? This is not how it is in preschool, unless your preschool has a Lord-of-the-Flies quality that ours lacks.

Enter Goldilicious.

Goldilicious has a premise that is more appropriate to the true target audience of 3-5 year olds. Goldilicious is Pink's unicorn. Adult readers will realize the unicorn is an imaginary friend (he becomes see-through whenever Pink's mom is around) and he and Pink have wonderful adventures together. And guess what? Now Pink has a fetish for all things gold! Go figure! Kind of thin, as plots go, but at least no one's being nasty to each other.

Goldilicious exists because Pinkalicious is a lucrative franchise. Anymore it seems almost any book that sells well will spawn enough sequels to completely exhaust an otherwise good idea. It happened with Skippyjon Jones (with ever-decreasing lucidity) and Walter the Farting Dog (how many books about gassy dogs do we need?) and Olivia (and you can certainly argue that Olivia's franchise was spinning out thinner and thinner until she was picked up and made into a cartoon by NickJr.)

My advice: get Pinkalicious if you have a preschooler who loves pink, check out Goldilicious from your local library, and leave Purplicious on the shelf.

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