Quill and Quire

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Yellow Blues

by Sean L. Moore

The young protagonist in Vancouver author/illustrator Sean L. Moore’s latest rhyming picture book has a footwear obsession: Jane yearns for yellow boots. She drops subtle clues for her clueless parents by drawing pictures of bananas and lemons for the fridge, and painting the word “yellow” on the wall in yellow paint with the Ls shaped like boots. Mom and Dad still don’t seem to get it.   

Like Jane’s parents, readers may find that they just aren’t getting some aspects of this story. Why Jane believes that eating waffles and cheese with syrup might help her situation is baffling, when these food items are not really the right shade to act as a hint. Some readers might wonder what Jane’s parents have in mind (no boots? pink boots? blue?) but their views are never clear. This muddiness is due to the weak storyline and frequent use of rhymes that lack context, such as “I’ve locked myself in the car/ and gone almost as far/ as giving up waffles and cheese”: the car line feels thrown in for the sake of rhyming – there’s no picture of a car or kid locked inside and it’s never mentioned again. Midway through, though, verse and storyline begin to work together and come to a coherent, satisfying end.

Moore, a former character designer for animated television shows, is clearly an accomplished artist. His bold, vibrantly coloured scenes and expressive cartoon personalities have style and visual appeal, but the book’s uneven storytelling means that children are unlikely to connect fully with this tale.