CM . . .
. Volume XIV Number 21. . . .June 13, 2008
The main character in Yellow Blues (Jane, according to the book jacket) is fixated on getting her parents to buy her yellow rain boots. Beginning the book with soggy runners, she attempts various antics to communicate her plea to her mom and dad: a steady stream of yellow artwork, wearing all yellow, arguing her case, and bargaining. All of this is to no avail; her parents begin to come around to the need for new boots, but they insist that "pink is now the new black." After the parental unit finally decides that new boots of Jane's liking might be in order, our heroine is dismayed to find not one pair of yellow boots left in the stores. She fears that her new footwear will show her to be "blue-booted (uncool)" on the first day of school, but when all the kids "turn three shades of green" at the sight of her new Wellingtons, she swells with pride at her newfound trendsetter status, no matter how temporary it may be.
Yellow Blues is a rapid mishmash of messages: parents are from outer space, boys are gross and girls are prissy, I don't want to wear a dress, blue is the new pink is the new black. Jane's precocious narration is similarly jumpy, bouncing from amusingly colloquial to cliché to offbeat. The lines all rhyme, but content seems to have been sacrificed in order to keep the rhyme tight. Additionally, there is no refrain or clear repeating pattern to the rhyme, which doesn't help the wandering plot problem. There are some great funny ideas in the book—such as Jane's favourite food being waffles and cheese (with syrup). However, many images and scenes seem tossed into the rhyming narrative without sufficient transition or back story.
Devon Greyson is a librarian at the Centre for Health Services and Policy Research in Vancouver, BC.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.