Thursday, December 8, 2011

Review: Unique Monique

Unique Monique
Unique Monique by Maria Rousaki

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Some schools think that having students wear the same clothes levels the playing field and makes students concentrate on their schoolwork instead of worrying about fashion. But what if you hate the uniform? Monique's school uniform is blue and brown and she hates it! She wants to wear something different so she can stand out and be unique. Rummaging through a trunk full of her mother's old clothes in the attic one day, she finds the perfect accessory-- a big red hat. She wears it to school the next day, and is the center of attention. Her teacher gets upset and tells her to take off the hat in class, but she can still wear it in the halls and on the bus home, so Monique holds her head up high and proudly displays the hat to her fellow students when she can. The next day, all of the students are wearing all different kinds of hats. The day after that, hats are banned by the principal. Monique doesn't mind. She found some colorful glasses in the chest, and proudly wears those. The following day, all the kids are sporting glasses. The day after that, glasses are banned, except for those children that need them. The same pattern is followed for all sorts of accessories: colorful socks, headbands, big bags, painted nails, and many more. Finally, Monique comes in one day with her hair perfectly neat, her uniform ordinary, and nothing exceptional about her. Her teacher is thrilled, and calls her up to the front of the class to show everyone what a model student she is. Monique smiles and tells the class about her homework-- showing off the brightest and most colorful braces anyone had ever seen. She had finally found a way to be unique that the principal couldn't ban. The artwork is a skillful mix of media, with watercolor and what appears to be crayon adding texture and interest. The characters are rather simply drawn, with big, circle eyes and simple line noses and mouths. Recommended for K-2.

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