I must confess right now that I have always wanted freckles. While those who found themselves ‘afflicted’ with those darling dots might have taken to wearing ski masks, I was dreading school daily because of my unruly, frizzy, and very curly hair. I ranked rainy days total torture and would have traded places with Julianne Moore in a heartbeat! That’s why I absolutely adored both Freckleface Strawberry and the newer Freckleface Strawberry and the Dodgeball Bully, 2 books from Bloomsbury by 4 time Academy Award nominee, Julianne Moore, illustrated by the always excellent LeUyen Pham.
Both books, ideal for the 3-8 age range, introduce readers to the sassy star of the Frecklface series. In the first book, Freckleface Strawberry, we realize right away that this young girl will do anything to rid herself of what she considers to be the bane of her existence, the clusters of concentrated melanin marring her face. With crude and insensitive comments coming at her from other kids like, “You look dirty,” or “You look like a giraffe,” Freckleface decides to tackle the problem with some home D.I. Y. After scrubbing them, applying lemon juice and wearing make-up don’t work, her only solution seems to be donning a face mask. It suddenly dawns on our flame-haired heroine, when her friends begin to wonder where she’s gone, that everyone likes her the way she is. And that way, special, unique and freckled, is just fine.
In Freckleface Strawberry and the Dodgeball Bully (new this month from Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books), parents and children alike will recall episodes from their own lives similar to the one Freckleface and her classmates encounter on rainy, indoor days at Early Bird school time. Meet Windy Pants Patrick, the bully who makes Dodgeball on these days, “Scary dodgeball. Hairy Dodgeball,” that often sounds like, “Thwack!” and sometimes like, “Thwock!” but mostly like: “AAAARRGGGHHHHH!” to the kids getting hit by the hard ball blasting right at them. Then someone freckled and unfrazzled makes a bold plan involving a monster and some fast foot action and pretty soon one Early Bird Ball bully is singing a different tune!
If you did not catch Julianne Moore at her recent book signing at Ralph Lauren in West Hollywood, click here to read an interview with her now.