Book Review: Patricia Polacco’s Pink and Say

Posted June 15, 2013 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews, Children's

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Patricia Polacco’s Pink and Say

Pink and Say


Patricia Polacco

biography, non-fiction, picture book that was published by Philomel Books on September 15, 1994 and has 48 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Chicken Sunday, The Keeping Quilt

A children’s picture book (6 – 10) remembering Pinkus Aylee, a colored boy in the Union Army who saved another.

In 1997, Pink and Say won the West Virginia Children’s Book Award and was nominated for the Rebecca Caudill Young Reader’s Book Award. In 1996, it was nominated for the Young Hoosier Book Award for Intermediate, and in 1995, it won the Jefferson Cup and the Horn Book Fanfare.

My Take

Oh, I just wanted to cry throughout the story…and unfortunately, I got my “wish” at the end.

It’s a tale that has had many permutations throughout war, and this one is of two 15 year olds fighting for their own reasons.

Whew, Polacco doesn’t pull any punches in this when Pinkus meets up with Say and gives it to him straight. Reasonable, but, whoa. A nice bit of history for the kids with some details they won’t get in school, small facts with so many implications. It’ll give y’all something to discuss, that’s for sure! A touch of irony when Say reveals he can’t read, and Pink promises to teach him.

I love how Polacco has Say appreciating Moe Moe, that he feels as if he’s in heaven.

“You can call me Say…Everybody in my family calls me Say, not Sheldon. I ‘spect you’re my family now.”

Polacco has a lot of family stories, and I’m glad she’s chosen to share them with us.

The Story

It’s two boys fighting in the Union Army with one rescuing the other. And then his mama, bless her, understanding that every body is different, that “bein’ brave don’t mean you ain’t afeared”.

The Characters

Pinkus Aylee is a runaway slave, who joined the Union Army — the Forty-eighth Colored — to fight against “the sickness”, what he calls slavery. Moe Moe Bay is Pink’s mother, staying on the old plantation although no one else is left. Kaylo is his dad.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a beautiful picture in watercolors of Pinkus reading the Bible while Say is looking over his shoulders against a backdrop of old Aylee’s burned-out plantation house.

The title is what the story is all about, Pink and Say.


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