Marla Frazee’s LITTLE BROWN reminds me of when I used to teach college composition, attempting to engage students in big questions around issues that are almost impossible to track back to any satisfyingly clear origin. You can imagine my RateMyProfessor ratings.
When the “facts” of any emotional situation are buried, entangled, or complex, it’s all about being able to hold or imagine multiple perspectives, yeah?
In LITTLE BROWN, Marla Frazee deftly shows kiddos the vulnerability each aggrieved side brings to a point of potential reconciliation, and why the moment that ends a stalemate can be approached 1,000s of times before someone works up the courage to make it happen.
Little Brown wants to join the other dogs and nurse grievances. The other dogs can rely on group dynamics to avoid navigating a situation that might cause them to examine their behavior even when Little Brown makes it harder and harder for them to ignore him.
I think a lot about the competing pressures for and against “lessons” in picture books. Here, Frazee gives ample opportunity to consider things from all angles, with little readers drawing their own conclusions. Sometimes resolution’s for the birds.