I'm disappointed. I took my son to a thrift store today and bought a few toys, including a pink stroller and a black doll, and books. He was getting a bit antsy, so I only skimmed the books before I bought them.
When we got home, I read one of them, My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss, with my son. The illustrations are beautiful paintings by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher. And my son and I usually enjoy Dr. Seuss books, but this one... oy vey!
The "narrator" of the book is a yellow-orange gingerbreadman-like figure who talks about the different ways s/he feels on different days. The feelings are all based on colors. The pages dealing with colors that don't usually describe skin colors are fine: "Gray Day... Everything is gray. I watch. But nothing moves today." or "Then all of a sudden I'm a circus seal! On my Orange Days that's how I feel." Okay, fine. Those are generally happy or neutral, inoculous feelings and pictures.
But when we get to colors that are typically used to describe skin color or race, take a look at this:
"Some days, of course, feel sort of Brown. Then I feel slow and low, low down."
"Then come my Black Days. Mad. And loud. I howl. I growl at every cloud." This page, of course, has some sort of a wild boar or dog with big teeth and a mean expression, growling at the sky. Scary!
How about our "multiracial page" with gingerbread people of all different colors? "Then comes a Mixed-Up Day. And Wham! I don't know who or what I am!"
Of course, there is also the yellow page. I really hope that no one describes Asians as yellow anymore, but I have to quote here: "Then comes a Yellow Day. I am a busy, buzzy bee." Where the other pages had just one animal each, this one has a swarm of bees with indistinguishable features, all flying in the same direction.
Finally, after going through all the colors, including the confusing multi-color page, the narrator concludes: "But it all turns out all right, you see. And I go back to being . . . me." Phew! So relieved our gingerbreadman with green eyes doesn't have to feel black, brown, or all mixed up from too many colors confusing his days.
Well, I could go into a detailed explanation of what racial stereotypes each of those skin color pages reinforce, but I'll just leave it that. So much for a book linking certain colors with certain feelings or characteristics. Very disappointing, to say the least.