Saturday, March 3, 2012

Freckleface Strawberry

Freckleface Strawberry

By: Julianne Moore

Illustrated By: LeUyan Pham

Published: 2007

This book is about a seven year old girl who has a hard time excepting something about herself; her freckles. She tries anything she can think to get rid of her freckles, including becoming the “new” kid at school. Yet in the end she accepts and learns to love her freckles.

Are characters "outside the mainstream culture" depicted as individuals or as caricatures?
After observing the illustrations I saw that each character in the book is a unique individual, even the children Freckleface Strawberry interacts with are individuals. The only thing that can be interpreted as a caricature feature is Freckleface Strawberries freckles. They stand out in all the illustrations and she is the only one in which they are extremely noticeable, and even compared to a giraffes spots at one point.

Does their representation include significant specific cultural information? Or does it follow stereotypes?
This book doesn’t give any insight into why people have freckles or red hair; it mainly follows stereotypes for redheaded freckled people. The main stereotype that is pointed out is that there aren’t many people with freckles and red hair; shown by all the children asking and teasing Freckleface Strawberry about her freckles because they aren’t familiar with them. However, this is also somewhat of a fact given that red hair is a recessive gene and only occur in 1-2% of the human population.

Who has the power in this story? What is the nature of their power, and how do they use it?
I think the power starts with the children at school. They tease Freckleface Strawberry and make her feel uncomfortable about her freckles and their comments lead her to want to change herself. Then the power moves to the freckles; which make Freckleface Strawberry feel different than everyone else. She tries to overcome them by scrubbing them, covering them in lemon juice, coloring over them with markers, and then finally wearing clothes that cover them to make them disappear. And lastly the power moves back to the children at school when they miss Freckleface Strawberry and make her feel accepted once they see her again. The children unknowingly bring Freckleface Strawberry down to a level of hating her freckles and then also manage raising her up by missing her and still wanting to play with her, even though she has freckles.

Who has wisdom? What is the nature of their wisdom, and how do they use it?
The mother at the park has the wisdom. She approaches Freckleface Strawberry and sympathizes with her struggle with freckles. The mother says “I know how you feel, I’m covered in them.” Freckleface Strawberry replies “I can’t see any”, the mother then says “I know, mine kind of went away when I grew up, I bet yours will too”. This shows Freckleface Strawberry that she isn’t the only one with freckles and that they could change when she gets older.

What are the consequences of certain behaviors? What behaviors or traits are rewarded, and how? What behaviors are punished, and how?
There are many conflicts and consequences of certain behaviors throughout this story so I will try my best to cover the important ones. . I think the main behavior the goes unnoticed (which is somewhat like rewarding it) is when the students tease Freckleface Strawberry. She doesn’t talk to an adult about it, she simply tries to “solve the problem” by herself. This could come off to other children as they shouldn’t talk to anyone about someone teasing them at school. The children’s comments do get a consequence though, which is missing Freckleface Strawberry at school when she hides under the ski mask. Another thing that’s interesting is to see how her family reacts to her wanting to change. They react like she is being strange when she tries to scrub her freckles off and make them disappear with lemon juice, and her mother even gets upset when she tries to cover them with marker. This hints towards avoiding trying to change yourself.

How is language used to create images of people of a particular group? How are artistic elements used to create those images?
Freckleface Strawberry is illustrated as a unique little girl that stands out among her friends, and her language shows her being a spitfire having a spunky personality. Her friends at school each look different and react in their own ways to her freckles with show diversity among her peers.

Who has written this story? Who has illustrated it? Are they inside or outside the groups they are presenting? What are they in a position to know? What do they claim to know?
Julianne Moore wrote this book and has a personal connection to the main character being as she has red hair and freckles and her nickname growing up was Freckleface Strawberry. It’s almost as if she is taking her own experiences and building a story off of them, which I find to be a wonderful quality to the book.

LeUyen Pham illustrated this book, yet she has no real connection to any groups within the story; or at least none that was talked about in her short bio.

Whose voices are heard? Whose are missing?
The children’s voices are the main voices being heard. Freckleface Strawberry speaks some, however most of the information we hear come from the narrator. The voices I felt were missing the most were her families, especially her mother and father. It would have been interesting to see their explanation if she came to them asking why she has freckles. That could have led to more insight and background on how people develop or are born with freckles.

What do this narrative and these pictures say about race? Class? Culture? Gender? Age? Resistance to the status quo?

Mainly this book focuses on self acceptance and loving your differences. Yet there are also some components of racism, mainly when Freckleface Strawberry is being teased and asked about her freckles. This shows that children react to people’s differences, sometimes in a bad way, and can make that individual feel badly about those differences.

Analyze the illustrations for stereotypes. What are people doing that may create or perpetuate a stereotype?
One silly stereotype I saw was when one of Freackleface Strawberries peers was asking about her freckles; he was depicted as a stereotypical “nerd” or “geeky” boy. He has a laser gun in one hand, has glasses and buck teeth, and when he asks about her freckles he says “Can I smell them?”

Analyze the storyline. How are problems presented and resolved?

Within the storyline there are problems presented, in the form of her freckles and feeling different than her peers. And in the end she and her friends learn that they really don’t care about her freckles, they like her for who she is and they miss her when she hides; therefore the problem becomes resolved

Would you recommend this book? Why or why not?
I would recommend this book, not only because it is a fun original story, but also because it has a good overall message for children to love themselves and their differences.


  1. Sounds like a wonderful story!! I think you did a great job in your analysis! I understand because I have freckles,but I never got teased for them! Well, except for the couple I have on my ears. Some children can be so mean. haha
    Have a wonderful weekend! :)

  2. I really like that you chose a book that doesn't necessarily have to with a certain culture or race, but with a different kind of skin color. I think red heads to get teased a lot because not only do they have red hair, they also have lots of freckles. I enjoyed the fact that Freckleface Strawberry tried to fix the problem herself because it shows she's exploring and learning that she can't get rid of them. But I also really liked that you pointed out she didn't talk with an adult about it.
    I have read this book before and it's a wonderful children's book! You did a great job, girl :)

  3. I am interested in reading this book. Your analysis gave me an impression of a fun book, with a few significant lessons to teach. (What stood out to me was bullying,and discrimination). I think that it would be an interesting perspective to hear more thoughts from the parents to help freckleface strawberry process the discrimination of her freckles and red hair. The illistrations appeared fun for children. Is this book written by the actress?

    1. Yes, it was written by the actress Julianne Moore.

    2. Yes, it was written by the actress Julianne Moore.

  4. Well done. This is a thorough analysis of an interesting children's book. I think you bring up a good point when the teasing children are not addressed. I wonder, though, about the adult who talked with her and said the freckles usually fade. What about when they don't? I think we need to accept everyone and help children love themselves without feeling a need to change or "grow out of it."

  5. Great analysis. This book I have not read but it looks like it does a good job of addressing how it is important to accept ones self as an individual. It's cool to see Julianne Moore use a bit of her celebrity and personal experience to send a positive message. I like as well how you pointed out they didn't really address the teasing issue, it would be interesting to see how the publisher felt about that. Also it seems as though "nerd" has become a mainstream character so it was also interesting to see that in the book. Good Job!

  6. Thanks everyone! This is one of my favorite books and it is SUCH a fun read.

  7. Sounds like a really interesting story for children who have freckles to relate. I havent read this story but would like to. When I go to the Library I will see if they have it and give it a read. Thanks for your insite on how children are affected by physical characterics like freckles.