Fellow library school student Jennifer K. pointed out Pink Me Up by Charise Mericle Harper to me, and I’m so glad she did.
I’ll start off by saying that I’m tired of all the princess, fairy, diva, and generally “pink” clap-trap marketed to young girls today, but this picture book is really about the special relationship between a girl and her father. Although our protagonist loves pink, she is not timid, demure, or delicate.
As the book opens, Violet is excited for her “special Mama-and-me day” at the Pink Girls Pink-nic. But when Mama wakes up with spots on her face, too sick to take her daughter to the big event, Violet throws herself on the floor and proclaims, “Today is the worst day EVER!”
Daddy steps in and offers to take her, but Violet shares some important information with her father – “Boys are NOT pink!” But Daddy is not discouraged, and gets dressed for the occasion in a pink necktie. Then Violet helps pink him up.
“We draw polka dots on Daddy’s shirt. We tape stripes to Daddy’s pants. We wrap paper on Daddy’s shoes. We put stickers on Daddy’s jacket.”
And despite his daughter’s preconceptions about gender and color, Daddy is the hit of the pink-nic! The mothers ooh-and-aah over him, and Violet finds that “now all the girls want to PINK UP their daddies, just like me.”
I found this to be a touching story about the love of a father for his daughter (maybe because even though I know he loves me, I’m quite sure my own father would never have let me pink him up – sorry, Dad!).