FICTION

Scarlet’s Tale

Little, Brown. Jan. 2021. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781368043083.
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PreS-Gr 1–Scarlet is born with a surprise. Her skin is the same color as her parents’, and she has the same same two eyes, one nose, ten fingers and ten toes, as well as the blond hair of her mother. She also has a furry tail that resembles a fox’s. Although there are challenges, her parents become skilled at accommodating her tail and “were happy to do it. So Scarlet was happy, too.” By contrast, Scarlet’s first day at school proves difficult because of the stares. Gradually, as Scarlet finds comfort in the familiar act of swinging, she attracts friends and eventually her classmates find a way to celebrate what makes Scarlet special. The story concludes with the arrival of Scarlet’s baby brother, who comes with his own surprise. Richly hued illustrations with bold outlines convey the range of emotions Scarlet experiences with a simplicity of details appropriate to the audience for this book. With supportive parents (who can afford custom-made clothing), Scarlet has the resilience to overcome her tough first day. The story focuses mostly on Scarlet’s positive experiences, making this a good choice to share with young readers not yet ready for more nuanced portrayals of conflict around differences.
VERDICT Recommended for large collections, and specifically to preschool classrooms introducing the topic of embracing differences.

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