Monday, March 15, 2010

The One and Only Marigold

Heide, Florence Parry. 2009. THE ONE AND ONLY MARIGOLD. Ill. by Jill McElmurry. New York: Random House. ISBN 9780375940514 [Suggested Grade Levels K- 2]


Four short chapters lead the reader through a few days in the life of THE ONE AND ONLY MARIGOLD. Through these we see Marigold, a young monkey with outrageous hair and a singular sense of style, square off with her mother, her best friend, and her own strong will. “Marigold did not agree with her mother, or her father, or her friend Maxine. But she agreed with herself and that was the important thing.” This strong sense of self is what makes her THE ONE AND ONLY MARIGOLD.

Text and illustrations work wonderfully together to make Marigold’s thoughts and feelings clear. When shopping for a new coat, she tells her mother “I hate plaid. And I hate red and I hate green and I really hate red and green together. I look like a stoplight.” Next to this is an illustration of her in a stoplight plaid coat, with the words “blink, blink, blink” emanating from the garment. Detailed art work, done in a primitive style, starts with the ornate end papers and continues through to the themed designs of chapter titles. In the chapter “Marigold’s New Dress,” the letters are festooned with sequins. Readers will have a hard time forgetting Marigold.


Illustrator Jill McElmurry has a lot of fun decorating the chapter titles. Have children write their names or create a book title in outline form and then fill it in using various decorative materials.


Here are some more simple picture books about friendships:

Hoban, Russell. A BARGAIN FOR FRANCES. ISBN 97814205509

Seeger, Laura Vaccaro. DOG AND BEAR. ISBN 9781596430532

By Marianne Follis

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