FICTION

Lili Macaroni

Pajama Pr. Aug. 2019. 32p. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781772780932.
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PreS-Gr 2–Lili Macaroni is just right. She is an exuberant and lively child who has big red hair like her mom, blueberry-colored eyes like her grandmother, and freckles like her father. Best of all are her big laugh just like her grandfather’s and the joy she finds in drawing her favorite polka-dotted butterflies. When it’s time to go off to school for the first time, Lili is ready for the new adventure. Unfortunately, the casual cruelty of her schoolmates dims her joy. Taunts about her name’s likeness to macaroni-and-cheese, her pumpkin-colored hair, and her parrot-like laugh cause Lili to consider how much better it might be to be someone completely different. With the gentle support of her parents, Lili makes a mature choice to communicate her hurt feelings to her teacher and classmates while realizing that she doesn’t need to change after all. She uses her own beloved polka-dotted butterflies to help her heartache fade as she accepts her own uniqueness. The resolution isn’t in the other children being kinder or abandoning their teasing. Although that is implied, the resolution that matters comes from within Lili as she draws upon her own inherent strength and resilience to overcome life’s challenges. The illustrations are colorful and engaging, with clean lines and a contemporary feeling.
VERDICT A comforting tale of self-acceptance following the tradition of Kevin Henkes’s Chrysanthemum and Patty Lovell’s Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon

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