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Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress
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Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  1,752 ratings  ·  372 reviews
Morris has a great imagination. He paints amazing pictures and he loves his classroom's dress-up center, especially the tangerine dress. It reminds him of tigers, the sun and his mother's hair.

The other children don't understand--dresses, they say, are for girls. And Morris certainly isn't welcome in the spaceship his classmates are building--astronauts, they say, don't w
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published May 1st 2014 by Groundwood Books
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sarah I read this book to a group of first and second graders recently and they loved it! The illustrations are absolutely gorgeous and engaging, and the st…moreI read this book to a group of first and second graders recently and they loved it! The illustrations are absolutely gorgeous and engaging, and the story resonated with them in the sense that they recognized the themes of bullying, individuality and the importance of kindness really immediately while reading it. (less)

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Average rating 4.16  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,752 ratings  ·  372 reviews

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Morris likes to wear the tangerine dress that reminds him of his mother’s hair and a tiger. He has a wonderful imagination. He likes the sound the dress makes, the swish swish. He is made fun of by everyone in his class. He decides that he doesn’t care. He is very brave and some kids do come around.

My nephew has been socialized and he laughed at Morris for wearing a dress. I can remember a time he liked to dress up like his sister and he thought it was funny. By the end of the book he thought th
Melissa Chung
Apr 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I read a ton of picture books to my children. I never add them to my overall book count because they are so easy to read. I also never write a review because again they are children books, but this is important to share.

I read this story about a little boy who loved wearing a tangerine dress from the dress up area at school. I read this book to my two boys 8 and 10. They both had no qualms with the boy wearing a dress and my oldest son commented on the story. I wanted to share his comment with
Cynthia Corral
Oct 08, 2015 rated it liked it
I go to the library every week and often just grab a random big stack of books for my three year old granddaughter because we generally like all books. So I didn't realize this was a "message" book until I'd gotten home. I like that it challenges roles and reinforces values that my family has, and the illustrations are simply beautiful. Truly, my favorite part is the illustrations.

I have to take away a star though because I just got bored with it. Too much swish-swishing and click-clicking and n
Mar 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: j-books
I don't usually write reviews, but I just have to share how awesome I think that this book is. Even though there's not much demand at my library, I've looked at book lists on gender-bending or nontraditional gender roles for kids. However, I've been generally underwhelmed by the many books that are on those lists because "she's a princess, but she's also smart." I just don't think that there is (or should be) anything particularly novel about that concept.

This book is about a boy who chooses to
Jan 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
I read a lot of picture books while shelving at the library but I don't add most of them (since they take me about a minute to read) unless I have something to say about them! One thing I've noticed lately is an increase of children's books dealing with gender issues. This was a sweet book that dealt with bullying and individualism in a positive way, and I'm so glad there are books like this to normalize diversion from traditional gender expectations at such a young age. ...more
Karen Witzler
Very good look at a sensitive and artistic child who is bullied for not following gender norms. Morris loves the swishy, crinkly tangerine-colored dress in the costume box at school. He wears it every chance he gets and lets the dress fuel all of his imaginative play. A quietly supportive and loving mother is present. Well-written text, very nice illustrations. Pre-K - Grade 2 children's picture book. ...more
Original review at

Morris Mickelwhite, son of Moira and roommate of Moo the cat, is a character. He's creative and strong and unique. When he hits a snag he takes a moment out then dusts himself off and comes back up again.

Morris loves to play dress up in a tangerine dress, and I'm sure you can imagine the comments he gets from school mates. These comments about something he love give him a stomachache. Taking time off to regroup with his mother, his cat,
May 22, 2016 rated it liked it
I liked this book, but I didn't love it.

For one thing, I work with kids in the target age group for this book - and some of the boys will wear dresses during playtime, and another has painted nails, and none of the other kids think anything about it at all. So I'd be very hesitant to read them this book, which explicitly calls out the stuff they think is normal and tells them it's weird before THEN telling them it's okay again.
For another thing, I'm a little worried that there's no communication
Morris Micklewhite loves going to school and playing dress up. But when his classmates start teasing and shunning him because he enjoys wearing an orange dress, he stays home from school. After spending time with his nurturing mother and beloved cat, he is inspired to paint and returns to school, once again filled with confidence. If his classmates want to explore the world with him and have cool adventures, it will have to be on his terms, dress and all. I like the message of self-empowerment i ...more
Sep 22, 2020 rated it liked it
Morris has his reasons for loving to dress in the big orange frock, but his classmates don't understand, so of course, they bully him.

I found it a little disturbing how much this poor child is forced to live inside his head instead of interacting with others. It made me too sad. I'm hoping things will turn around for Morris.

On the plus side, I liked Isabelle Malenfant's artwork:


And, you'd better believe if I have to put on a dress for any occasion, it WILL be tangerine!
Feb 14, 2015 rated it liked it
I theory I love this. It has beautiful illustrations and Morris, the wearer of the tangerine dress emerges at the end, unscathed by bullies. I liked the show of diversity and how Morris's personality and creativity was what won the day in the end.

Here's why I'm holding back additional stars.
1. As another reviewer mentioned, this isn't a great diversity read aloud because if it hasn't occurred to children to bully for this particular behavior, well, it is clearly set off in the book as something
Coming across a book which challenges gender stereotypes is rare these days but finding one which shared a story of a boy breaking free from masculine doctorine is even rarer. Morris is a young boy who, with the full support of his mother, finds great comfort and pleasure in wearing dresses and having his nails painted. In doing so, however, he is segregated by his peers at school and his choices are questioned because he is not fulfilling the expectations which society expects from him.

With th
Nov 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books, lgbtq
The story of Morris is a very heartwarming tale of a little boy who loves to wear his favorite orange dress. He doesn't see it as him wearing a dress but enjoying something that reminds him of some of his favorite things in life and being in love with the way the dress sounds and feels. Morris is faced with taunting and bullying which he must find a way to overcome. The author does a great job in keeping the story very relatable and reachable to young children. Overall a great read which teaches ...more
La Coccinelle
Sep 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children
Kids can be little stinkers. Especially when they're so steeped in gender stereotypes that they make other kids' lives miserable. Gender is kind of weird, if you think about it. Based on the bodies we're born with, society assigns us a set of rules that we're supposed to follow. And if you don't follow them... well, trouble often ensues.

That's the case here for Morris, who absolutely adores the tangerine dress in his classroom's dress-up center. It swishes and crinkles and reminds him of his mom
Aug 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children
Morris is a young boy in preschool. He likes tigers, and spaceships, and a tangerine dress in the dress-up box. He likes the color because it reminds him of tigers, and he likes the noises it makes when he wears it. The other boys at school make fun of him, because "boys don't wear dresses"; and they won't let him play with them in their spaceship. Morris feels sad and sick to his stomach, but eventually he begins having his own adventures, with tigers and space elephants, and he has so much fun ...more
Jul 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
A truth I learned from this book: it doesn't matter what gender you are or what you're wearing or whether or not anyone thinks what you're wearing matches your gender (whatever that means); if you have a spaceship, and its got elephants on it, and your cat has a space helmet on, then you are winning the imagination game and everyone wants to be friends with you. And if someone still has a problem with your tangerine dress and heels, you just ignore them and continue living in space. ...more
Sandy Brehl

Stereotyping and gender expectations result in bullying and changing a happy, school-loving kid into one with school avoidance and stomach aches.
A strong story that emphasizes the sensory/creative impulses of a very young boy rather than gender identity. When Becky snipped, "Boys don't wear dresses," Morris confidently replies "This boy does."
This will pair well with Fleischman's WESLANDIA for older readers.
Jun 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
I read this book for a Pride-themed storytime (okay..."inclusivity and celebrating our uniqueness"-themed storytime) and I was worried the parents were going to flip their shit over this selection. None of them did but more importantly, when I finished the book, the preschool-aged boy sitting front and center said, with a huge smile, "I like that book!" ...more
J. Boo
Jan 28, 2020 rated it it was ok
Found the storyline insipid, and the children unlikely. Struck me as something that wouldn't be bought for any particular merits of its own, but rather designed for a library or school that needs to fill an LGBT-shaped hole in its shelves. ...more
Christie Angleton
I think this lovely little book could be so empowering to many young boys.
Jan 15, 2021 rated it really liked it
This is a darling book. As the mommy of a four-year-old boy who LOVES putting on pretty dresses and swish-swish-swishing around, I thought this was handled perfectly. I am very lucky in that no one has ever (to my knowledge) said anything negative to my son about his love of pretty dresses, although we did have to reassure him once or twice that *anyone* can dress up as Elsa, because it's just playing pretend, and pretend is for everyone.

I see this book shelved a lot as LGBTQ+, and it always ma
Cassandra Werner
Oct 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book is an immersive read, with a thick plot that really gets you to identify with Morris, no matter your gender expression! By introducing Morris as an individual for several pages before a dress is even mentioned, the author does a great job of giving plenty of room for character development, and really conveying what Morris is feeling, by using real examples that kids can identify with (i.e. when Morris pretends to have a tummy ache to escape the bullies, but "When Morris thought of all ...more
Harrison Rubin
Nov 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I love the illustrations and the repetition and similarity of the first few pages and faces. The book reminded me of Billy Elliot and other movies and plays that involve the same kind of story- gay or metrosexual leads, and similar plots like the desire to wear dresses. The other kids in school are so relatable to typical kids in the school districts today- and it's so sad. However, so often there are a few kids who get it and accept others for who and what they are. There is ...more
Jan 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Kudos to Christine Baldacchino for being brave, for following her heart, and for exploring a topic that few people dared to talk about. Morris is a preschool boy who loves tangerine dresses because they remind him of his mother's hair, the sun, and the tiger. He also loves to wear shoes that go "click, click, click." This is a book that one might consider controversial, but it's also the kind of book that has so much heart in it. Morris will remind readers about embracing one's identity and havi ...more
Oct 17, 2017 added it
Shelves: ks1, ks2
Morris has a fab imagination and delight for life. He loves to wear the tangerine orange dress and clickety shoes. He is ostracised by his friends but creates an enviable rocket adventure and proves to be great fun. The boys now take him as he is and he boldly and confidently tells the girls they should do the same. This is a gentle story and very easy to read - feel good.
Maggie Elizabeth
Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress
By Christine Baldacchino
Pictures by Isabelle Malenfant

Standing up to bullies can be a very scary and lonely task. This wonderful picture book, written by Christine Baldacchino, will empower and inspire young readers in K-2nd grade to find the courage to stand up to bullies and at the same time learn the importance of loving oneself. Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress received the 2015 Stonewall Honor for Children’s and Young Adult Literature. The
It is Banned Books Week again, and of course I have to participate and read some banned books!

This one just sounded perfectly cute, so I had to read it. Meet Morris, he is a normal boy, but he has something others may find strange, he likes to wear a tangerine dress and fit all the shoes there are in the dress-up center. And I can imagine that dress looks fabulous, and I agree it does remind me of a tiger.

But sadly, his classmates aren't so kind to him. They make fun of him for wearing the dres
Rebekah Potter
Sep 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-book
This book taught a good message about how even though you don't fit in you can still be yourself and be happy for being you. It showed readers that despite not wanting to dress like others you can still be yourself and be happy with who you are. I feel like this is something a lot of kids struggle with and eventually give up being themselves just to fit in. ...more
Feb 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Morris Micklewhite does exactly what the title and cover picture of the book suggest - dresses up in a tangerine dress. (which he finds in the dress-up center at school) He is avoided by his classmates because of this. But he ends up proving to be a very interesting little fellow with his imagination and a make-believe astronaut adventure that he shares with his classmates. In essence, the theme is about a transgender young boy.
This book can be used in a library or classroom setting to teach stu
Todd R
May 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a great story about a boy named Morris. Morris is a happy kid that loves to paint, go to school, do puzzles, sing the loudest during circle time, and wear the tangerine dress in the dress-up center in his classroom. When he puts the dress and shoes on, he likes the crinkle and swish the dress makes and the click of the shoes. Morris likes to wear the dress around school. That is until the other kids start to call him names, exclude him from playing with them, and told him that boys don't ...more
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