By Kate Feiffer
Illustrated by Bruce Ingman
Unpaged. A Paula Wiseman Book / Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
$15.95 (Ages 3 to 6)
Penelope Green, The New York Times Book Review
Sunday, December 4, 2005
Obsession is the fuel for “Double Pink,” sparely written by Kate Feiffer, and deliriously illustrated by Bruce Ingman in hot acrylic paint and delicate ink. Feiffer’s tale is about a little girl named Madison who loves pink with a single-minded passion, and to the exclusion of every other color. Parents may recognize the all-too-familiar story, when a cute affinity becomes a tedious fetish to which the whole family must slavishly adhere. (Feiffer, a filmmaker and mom of Madeline, a lover of pink, according to her book jacket, clearly has some experience in these matters.
A search for a “dress so perfectly pink that it was double pink” leads ineluctably to a universe of pink things. Decked out in her double-pink dress, pink tights, shoes and sunglasses, Madison asks for a pink room, and gives the heave-ho to toys that aren’t pink. Such a riot of sameness becomes both dull and scary, Madison discovers, as her mother struggles to find a pink-faced girl in an all-pink room.
What a boon a narrative like this is to its illustrator, Ingman, whose brushstrokes recall those of both Ludwig Bemelmans and Maira Kalman, careers happily over the edge when the story does, painting a raucous fuchsia delirium. Feiffer has an economy of style and understated wit that reminds me of her father, Jules, and also of the way children really speak.
“Madison’s mother stopped doing whatever it was that she was doing without Madison and walked into Madison’s room,” she writes, “but all she could see was pink.”
Feiffer’s moral is happily tempered by the finale, which hints at new frontiers in color obsession.