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[DiverseKidLit] When Neon-Pink is Anything But Girly-Squishy-Bitty: Self-Agency and Playful Determination in “The Marvellous Fluffy Squishy Itty Bitty”

Myra here.

Diverse Children’s Books is a brand new book-sharing meme designed to promote the reading and writing of children’s books that feature diverse characters. This community embraces all kinds of diversity including (and certainly not limited to) diverse, inclusive, multicultural, and global books for children of all backgrounds.


We encourage everyone who shares to support this blogging community by visiting and leaving comments for at least three others. Please also consider following the hosts on at least one of their social media outlets. Spread the word using #diversekidlit and/or adding our button to your site and your diverse posts.

We hope this community will grow into a great resource for parents, teachers, librarians, publishers, and authors! Our next linkup will be Saturday, May 7th and will continue on the first and third Saturdays of each month.

Most Clicked Post from Last Time

The diverse post that received the most clicks from the last #diversekidlit is … Diverse Children’s Book Celebrating Cultural Traditions by Adrienne at Reading Power Gear. She shares seven great picture books focusing on different cultural traditions including Divali, Chinese New Year, and more!

I believe I mentioned earlier this week how I have been reading quite a number of European books (from adult literature to picturebooks). There is just something about them that captures my attention – something so different with the lines, the narrative, the overall feel and vibe of the story.

It may be argued that books coming from Europe may not necessarily be considered diverse lit – this is a contentious issue that is not easily resolved, the very definition of what constitutes “diversity” or “multiculturalism” a perennial polemical issue tackled in a great many academic texts. For my purposes, the fact that the setting of this story is different from my reality and what I am accustomed to, makes this ‘diverse lit’ the way I define it, at least for the purposes of this post.


The Marvelous Fluffy Squishy Itty Bitty

Written and Illustrated by: Beatrice Alemagna
Published by: Thames & Hudson, 2015. ISBN13: 9780500650493
Book borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me. Book Awards: Mildred L. Batchelder Award

Edith, or Eddie, as she is called is five and a half years old (I often get amused by how children seem to be in such a hurry to grow up – just a little digression, here in Singapore, children use their age for that year regardless of whether they have already celebrated their birthday or not – which I find to be a tad confusing). Anyway, Mum is going to celebrate her birthday soon – and Eddie’s older sister seems to be getting Mum an amazing present that consists of something with fluff, squish, and itty-bitty:


Eddie is not very sure exactly what that is – but since it sounds pretty amazing, she went out in search for it. She also made sure that she asked for help from people whom she trusts in the neighbourhood: from Bruno who runs the bakery, to Wendy who owns a flower shop:


and Emmett who owns an antique shop. Of course, not everyone was patient or welcoming – case in point is the grouchy Theo, the butcher, who simply could not be bothered:


… but almost everyone was kind enough to hand Eddie a little something that they think her mum would like: from warm sticky buns to a pearl button to a rare stamp. I like how this girl seems to inherently understand that you can not get something for nothing – there is the ready willingness on her end to trade whatever she was given by kind souls in exchange for a four-leaf clover or a shiny button, until she finds that perfect marvelous squishy, itty-bitty thing that she is confident her mum would love!


Whether Eddie found this squishy thingy I shall leave for you to discover. I was immediately taken by this young French girl who showed a playful determination to find something outside of herself that she felt would be perfect for her mum on her birthday. It is such a simple story, but told so effectively, and with such vivid art that renders the setting so alive with such vibrant colours: definitely a new favourite of mine.


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Crystal @ Reading Through Life and co-blogger @ Rich in Color
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Interested in joining as a host or an occasional co-host? Contact Katie at 1logonaut (gmail).

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Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Singapore. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she serves as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads or meeting up with her book club friends, she is smashing that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life.

5 comments on “[DiverseKidLit] When Neon-Pink is Anything But Girly-Squishy-Bitty: Self-Agency and Playful Determination in “The Marvellous Fluffy Squishy Itty Bitty”

  1. crbrunelle

    I enjoyed the Fluffy Little Squishy book (I just read it this past week) for the uniqueness of it. The illustrations reminded me of the Scrumple books by Annie M.G. Schmidt illustrated by Fiep Westendorp. They make me a little nostalgic.

    I appreciated your explanation of how this book, for you, is quite diverse. There is a lot of discussion about what that might mean to other people. It’s a complex issue.


  2. Oh, I’m excited to read this book! It’s a good issue to bring up about whether European books should be considered “diverse” or not. I certainly find them pretty different from my daily experience as well, which I think is at least part of the definition of diversity! Always good to have a diversity of perspective.


  3. I’ve heard such great things about this book, and this confirms it! Absolutely I think this is an appropriate book to feature in a diverse linkup. Thanks for hosting too!


  4. Marjorie

    This looks great! And I totally agree with you about multiculturalism embracing trans-European stories – we could do with more picture books in the UK from the rest of Europe!


  5. Pingback: [Monday Reading] Tiny Kids from Europe With Huuuuge Imagination in “Bonjour Camille” and “Little Big Boubo” – Gathering Books

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