Can too much curiosity spur accidental bullying?
Moore, Julianne. Freckleface Strawberry. Illustrations by LeUyen Pham. New York: Bloomsbury, 2007. Print.
Genre: picture book
Summary: An exuberant little girl tries everything to hide her red hair and freckles. She quickly uncovers a difficult choice: either go through life alone and uncomfortable or accept her own oddities.
Critique: First off, Pham’s vigorous, lively illustrations bring the entire book to life. She crafts distinct postures rich with emotion and expression.
And if you are wondering whether the Julianne Moore who authored this book is the same Julianne Moore who played Maude in The Big Lebowski (1998), the answer is yes!
For me, the most interesting facet of Moore’s text is the way she uses excessive curiosity as a vehicle for unintended persecution. Unlike the hobgoblins I evidently grew up among, the children in this book are not outright mean. Rather than bully and tease the protagonist about the features that make her unique, they pepper her with questions.
Do freckles hurt? What do they smell like?
To be fair, they do nickname her Freckleface Strawberry and at least one kid makes a lame joke. But on the whole, Moore’s depiction of the child tribe is utterly civilized. Of course, all that may change when freckles and red hair combine with glasses, braces, boobs, and zits. Hang in there, Freckleface!