A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that it's easy to suspend your disbelief and actually care about how the plaid menace will be stopped. The writing is jazzy, and the illustrations have a hip feel, though neither is elevated to art.
Is It Any Good?
It would be nice to think of this tale as a satire on the fickle and irrelevant winds of fashion, though that is likely not its intention. Jill McElmurry's first picture book is primarily an entertainment, suffused with energy and the palpable quality of being cool. That hip spark can be found in both the words and the illustrations. You can almost hear the rap syncopation: "It floated around from place to place. / Truly, it was madness! / Everything that plaid germ touched / caught a terrible case of plaidness." The artwork is two-dimensional, with the images standing apart as if cutouts, and it is also very urban, though softened by letting a lot of the action take place in parks.
Kids will quickly perceive that in these pages, not all that should be plaid is plaid; one 5-year-old wanted to know, "How come the tree is plaid if the leaves aren't plaid?" Good point, but it also highlights the fact that this is a book that makes kids want to look, and look hard.
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