by Jen Barton
Yoko Matsuoka, illustrator
Back Cover: IN a world where chocolate is purple, where roller skates frow on trees and all kinds of things turn topsy turvy, one thing your little one can count on is your love.
Opening “If chocolate were purple and bumble bees swam, for lunch we’d have rainbows, not PB and jam.”
If Chocolate Were Purple is a cute “what if” children will enjoy and laugh at while mom or dad read the silly lines of this rhyming picture book. If we have Slinky legs and bounce around . . . If whales talk . . . if lizards sang . . . if chocolate were purple . . . I would still love you. Great message from mom to her child. It would have been nice to see some of these frames with dad, but then it would disrupt the flow of the story.
We all know little kids love goofy lyrics with illustrations that enhance the story. If Chocolate Were Purple does a good job doing just that. There are flying dolphins, a dancing lizard, round bananas that glow in the dark—and might be the streetlights. Everything in this story is silly an should please young children, or “young’uns” as a reviewer friend calls young children.
The illustrations are outlined in purple; the same purple as the chocolate on page one. There is also rainbow peanut butter for lunch and a table wearing purple shoes . . . and yes, slinky legs that propel the young child—could be a boy or a girl—nearly as high as the tree top. I like that the child could be either gender. This lets any kids put themselves into the story. If they have a pet fish that can walk along side of them, that is even better.
There are a couple of problem areas. First, the pages in my book have easily pulled away from the binding. The book is a paperback, not really a great choice for a picture book that children will handle multiple times. The pages should be thicker than normal and able to withstand the pulls of little hands as they turn the pages.
The rhyming is good and flowed off my tongue beautifully, until the whale page. There is only one line and . . . oh, there it is, in a bubble two inches below the first line and in smaller text. I did not immediately see this and thus stopped reading.
“Some fish would have hair—
golden and curly,
and some might shout,
Once I figured out what happened it was difficult to get that rhythm back despite the rest of the story having the same great meter as before the whale speaks the second line. I think having another character pick up a line is fine, but it must be similar as the text. The only time a bubble should be so far away from the text is when there is adjunct speech from a character.
If Chocolate Were Purple is a cute picture book that delivers a message everyone needs to hear, especially children. No matter the number of readings, “I’ll always love you” is a phrase that never wears out. The illustrations are as fun and humorous as the text. Parents will enjoy reading this rhyming picture book even multiple times. Kids will love the silliness. If Chocolate Were Purple is a nice bedtime story. A few giggles, the character goes off to bed, and it ends with “I love you.” What could be better?
Released June 13, 2013
Age 3 to 7
IF CHOCOLATE WERE PURPLE. Text copyright © 2013 by Jen Barton. Illustrations copyright © 2013 by Yoko Matsuoka. Reproduced by permission of the author.