Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress by Christine Baldacchino, illustrated by Isabelle Malenfant

This is an important book about gender. Sensitively told, the boy (Morris) at the heart of the story, loves wearing the tangerine dress in his classroom’s dress up box. It fills his imagination with vivid images of tigers, the Sun and his mum’s beautiful flowing red hair.

Morris is teased by the other children, who do not accept him, they cannot see past the non-conforming boy in a tangerine dress.

However, Morris is far more than that. Morris is a painter, a problem solver and an astronaut. Wearing the dress is just one of the many things he enjoys doing.

The book feels like an honest account of Morris’ story. Isabelle Malenfant’s illustrations do a marvellous job of portraying the spectrum of emotions felt by both Morris and the other children in his class.

The picture book form seems to be getting better and better, tackling challenging issues and confronting intolerance.

I tip my hat to the creators and publisher of this wonderful book.

Published by Groundwood Books

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Work: An Occupational ABC by Kellen Hatanaka

An alphabetical tour through the coolest jobs you can imagine—and some you might never have heard of! With a sophisticated, minimalist design and visual jokes to interpret on every page, Work: An Occupational ABC introduces children both to the alphabet and to a range of alternative careers.

Groundwood Books

Sidewalk Flowers by JonArno Lawson, illustrated by Sydney Smith

This has become one of my favourite picture books of all time.

The concept is incredibly poignant. Based on an actual walk the author JonArno had with his daughter.

This is a great picture book for working mums and dads to share with their little ones, although the grown-ups might be the ones learning a lesson.

Father and daughter walk through the streets on their way home from somewhere. The city is grey and drab to the father; he is too worried by adult life, too preoccupied and anxious to notice what his daughter is doing.

Care-free, she collects flowering weeds that are sprouting out of the cracks of concrete: pineapple weed, dandelion, clover and vetch. As she decorates a hat, a dogs collar and gives flowers to people the world begins to come to life with splashes of colour.

The illustrations by Sydney Smith are incredible, somewhat cinematic in style. I like to think of it as the storyboard of an old man’s memory. It is a remarkable wordless picture book, which serves as an important reminder to not let go of that inner child within us all.

It will leave you thinking about it long after you close its cover.

Published by Groundwood Books

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Check out Sydney’s website to see his portfolio of work. A fantastic talent!