Don’t Drink the Pink by B.C.R. Fegan is a children’s book about the magic of a girl’s relationship with her grandfather, beautifully illustrated by Lenny Wen. The girl, Madeline, narrates the story of how her Grandfather Gilderberry, creates little potions in his workshop. She drinks a potion on every one of her birthdays for fourteen years. Each potion is a different color and causes something magical to happen to her for that birthday. Her grandfather always admonishes her not to choose the pink one. “Don’t drink the pink!” But when her grandfather dies, it’s the only potion left. What will happen when she drinks it?
This is a high-quality book. The combination of detail in the storytelling and illustrations in Don’t Drink the Pink is really exceptional and the concepts are presented in a sophisticated way. The colored potions are cued to an activity—such as controlling the weather or super-strength—and I felt there was an intuitive suitability between each color and the power it gave Madeline. And I was delighted by the honesty of B.C.R. Fegan’s writing that used the seemingly fantastical idea that a grandfather could give you special powers on your birthday to echo a child’s feelings accurately. Relationships with older relatives are unique in a child’s life and can be truly magical. Throughout the book her grandfather is a touchstone for helping Madeline ground herself as she ages year by year and the potions she receives are in harmony with her personal development. The conclusion helps prepare children for the natural concept of a loved one’s passing as well, rounding out a great book I was delighted to read.
This is the companion for Sarah Scheele's newsletter blog. In it I share reviews for books I'd recommend/are similar to my own.