Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress
Written by Christine Baldacchino
Illustrated by Isabelle Malenfant
Publication Date April 01, 2014
Morris is a little boy who loves using his imagination. He dreams about having space adventures, paints beautiful pictures and sings the loudest during circle time. But most of all, Morris loves his classroom’s dress-up center — he loves wearing the tangerine dress.
But the children in Morris’s class don’t understand. Dresses, they say, are for girls. And Morris certainly isn’t welcome in the spaceship some of his classmates are building. Astronauts, they say, don’t wear dresses.
One day when Morris feels all alone, and sick from the taunts of his classmates, his mother lets him stay home from school. Morris reads about elephants, and puts together a puzzle, and dreams of a fantastic space adventure with his cat, Moo.
Inspired by his dream, Morris paints the incredible scene he saw, and brings it with him to school. He builds his own spaceship, hangs his painting on the front of it and takes two of his classmates on an outer space adventure.
With warm, dreamy illustrations Isabelle Malenfant perfectly captures Morris’s vulnerability and the vibrancy of his imagination. This is a sweetly told story about the courage and creativity it takes to be different.
Winner of the CBC Bookie Award for Best Picture Book 2015
Short-listed for the Blue Spruce Award 2015
Selected for the Canadian Children's Book Centre Best Books for Kids and Teens 2014
Selected for the Quill & Quire Books of the Year for Young People 2014
Selected for the Kirkus Reviews Best Books of the Year 2014
Selected for the Kirkus Best Picture Books Celebrating Diversity 2014
Selected for the Today's Parent Top Picture Books of the Year 2014
Selected for the Huffington Post Best Picture Books of the Year: Most Touching/Heartwarming 2014
Selected for the Stonewall Honor Books in Children’s and Young Adult Literature 2015
Selected for the American Library Association Rainbow List 2015
Selected for the Cooperative Children's Book Center Choices 2015
Christine Baldacchino is a graphic artist and web designer with a background in early childhood education. She lives with her husband in Toronto. She likes cats and the colour orange. This is her first book.
Isabelle Malenfant was born in the north of Quebec, between gold mines and lakes, in the city of Val d'Or city. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in graphic design from Université du Québec à Montréal, then fell in love with illustration. Since then, Isabelle has illustrated more than a dozen children’s books. Her illustration style mixes mediums such as watercolor, pastel and charcoal to create poetic and sensitive worlds. She lives with her family in Montreal.
"Morris is a complex character whose creativity and personality shine. . . . Sensitive and reassuring." Kirkus, STARRED REVIEW
"[A] wonderfully moving and enriching picture book. Morris is a relateable character whom many readers will find both sympathetic and familiar." Quill & Quire, STARRED REVIEW
"[R]ather than presenting an overt message about gender identity, the book provides a subtle and refreshing glimpse at a boy who simply likes to dress up." School Library Journal
"Baldacchino doesn’t sugar-coat the teasing and isolation Morris endures. . . . Malenfant showcases Morris’s full emotional spectrum." Publishers Weekly
"Unlike some more messagey titles on the subject, this one provides Morris with a personality beyond his dress-loving nature, making him enjoyable literary company." Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"First-time author Christine Baldacchino debunks all the shoulds and shouldn’ts of children’s behavior merely based on the number of x-chromosomes. . . . Veteran illustrator Isabelle Malenfant imbues young Morris with such expressiveness, from his curious joy to hurt silence to cruel rejection to hopeful triumph." BookDragon
"Christine Baldacchino's story and Isabelle Malenfant's delightful illustrations show how being different is sometimes the bravest thing you can be." National Post
"Baldacchino’s gentle story sensitively depicts gender nonconforming children, offering them reassurance and, one hopes, acceptance by introducing other children to the concept." Booklist