The Boy in the Orange Cape

Clavis. Mar. 2021. 32p. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781605375991.
K-Gr 2–Corey wears an orange cape to school and every day, a bully named Billy takes it away. Corey is undaunted and alone until a curious boy asks why he continues to wear the cape. Corey reveals that he does it for his sick mother whose favorite color is orange. Soon, all the students begin to wear different colors and patterns of capes and Billy is left out, until Corey extends an act of kindness. Anthropomorphized characters mirror the characters’ traits. Corey has the body of a human and the head of a rabbit, while Billy has the head of a bulldog; other students are a frog, mouse, raccoon. The book reads like a cautionary tale instructive for both the bullied and the bully: “I’ll tell you this story, because it may help you one day.” Translated from Dutch, text is straightforward with the word “cape” always capitalized. The illustrations are realistically drawn and straightforward as well. Hues of blue and orange dominate, with text primarily on verso and illustrations on recto, except for a double-page spread featuring students in the playground with a variety of capes that weave together, quilt-like to show a sense of unity. The close-up image of Billy’s face apologizing to Corey effectively conveys his contrition and leads to their eventual friendship.
VERDICT A simply told story about stepping forward to support the bullied and change the dynamic, this is an accessible if slight story about courage and bullying in a school setting.

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