The Blue Scarf

Running Pr. Oct. 2022. 48p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780762478897.
K-Gr 2–A well-intentioned allegory for the immigrant experience is muddled in the execution. After a young blue girl named Layla loses her blue scarf during a violent storm, she sets off on a journey around the world to find it. The people of every monochrome nation—the purples, the greens, the oranges—say they have not seen her blue scarf, effectively turning her away. Only when she finds a melting pot world of every color does she realize the scarf was with her the entire time. Layla proudly wears her scarf and stays in this new land. Despite the story’s requirement of a monochrome palette, the illustrations are vivid and vibrant. By stripping down cultures for the purpose of its allegorical nature, however, the artwork borders on racial stereotyping. The yellow nation is depicted as Middle Eastern and the Chinese nation a red one, with a character who has slanted eyes. Africa is shown as tribal and primitive. The book ends with a message advising readers to be proud of their identity.
VERDICT Poetry gives way to problematic images that will seem thoughtless and insensitive. Not recommended.

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