Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress is a story about the courage it can take to be yourself, and it is a celebration of the joy that comes from being exactly who you want to be. If you haven’t already shared this picture book with a child in your life, then Pride Month is the perfect time to pick it up.
“Baldacchino treats the tricky and controversial subject of expected gender behaviors and bullying with care and compassion, employing language and tone that avoid histrionics or preaching.” – Kirkus, STARRED REVIEW
“The message here – that it is not only okay but important to be yourself, and to support others in doing likewise – is of great significance.” – Quill & Quire, STARRED REVIEW
“Baldacchino’s gentle story sensitively depicts gender nonconforming children, offering them reassurance and, one hopes, acceptance by introducing other children to the concept.” – Booklist
Morris likes lots of things about school. He likes to paint. He likes to do puzzles. He likes the apple juice at snack time and singing the loudest during circle time.
Most of all, Morris likes the dress-up center. And the tangerine dress. Morris likes the color of the dress. It reminds him of tigers, the sun and his mother’s hair.
He likes the noises the dress makes — swish, swish, swish when he walks and crinkle, crinkle, crinkle when he sits down. He takes turns wearing all the different shoes but his favorite ones go click, click, click across the floor.
Morris is a little boy who loves using his imagination. He dreams about having space adventures, paints beautiful pictures and sings the loudest during circle time. But most of all, Morris loves his classroom’s dress-up center — he loves wearing the tangerine dress.
But the children in Morris’s class don’t understand. Dresses, they say, are for girls. And Morris certainly isn’t welcome in the spaceship some of his classmates are building. Astronauts, they say, don’t wear dresses.
One day when Morris feels all alone, and sick from the taunts of his classmates, his mother lets him stay home from school. Morris reads about elephants, and puts together a puzzle, and dreams of a fantastic space adventure with his cat, Moo.
Inspired by his dream, Morris paints the incredible scene he saw, and brings it with him to school. He builds his own spaceship, hangs his painting on the front of it and takes two of his classmates on an outer space adventure.
With warm, dreamy illustrations, Isabelle Malenfant perfectly captures Morris’s vulnerability and the vibrancy of his imagination. This is a sweetly told story about the courage and creativity it takes to be different.