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The Picture Book Buzz

Quincy: The Chameleon Who Couldn't Blend In - Perfect Picture Book Friday #PPBF

Yeah it's Friday! Time for lots of Perfect Picture Books. After visiting with Barbara DiLorenzo on Monday (here), I've been counting the days until I could share this beautiful treasure with you.

One of my favorite sayings is "Be yourself, everyone else is already taken" by Oscar Wilde. Sometimes, it's tough to live up to the expectations of society, friends, and family. Let alone those we put on ourselves.

It's fun to find a book which encourages everyone to be true to themselves, do what makes them happy, and share their amazing individual gifts and abilities with the world. Once again, art saves the day.

Quincy: The Chameleon Who Couldn't Blend In

Author/Illustrator: Barbara DiLornezo

Publisher: little bee books (2018)

Ages: 4-8



Individuality, art, blending in, and friendship.


Quincy the chameleon just can't seem to blend in. Will he ever find a way to embrace his uniqueness? Quincy wants to love chameleon school, but he's not very good at blending in. No matter how hard he tries to stop it from happening, all of his thoughts keep popping up on his skin! In camouflage class, the leaves he's supposed to blend in with remind him of rocket ships, so his skin changes to look like outer space. And when it's Quincy's turn to read his poem out loud, he realizes he has to pee-which the whole class realizes, too, when rolls of toilet paper appear on his skin! The only thing Quincy loves about school is painting during art class with his favorite teacher, Mrs. Lin. But can painting help him find a way to blend in?

Opening Lines:

Quincy wanted to love chameleon school.

He loved learning how to zap flies with his sticky tongue.

He was best at rolling his eyes in all directions.

And nothing was better than swinging from his long, curly tail.

But there was one thing that Quincy wasn't good at . . .

. . . blending in.

Why I liked this book:

Who hasn't had a problem fitting in? But when you're a chameleon whose wandering thoughts are reflected on your skin, this leads not only to a failure at camouflage but some rather embarrassing moments.

© Barbara DiLorenzo, 2018.

Like for instance, when Quincy imagined a leaf looked like a moustache on his teacher or thought that he really needed to pee.

© Barbara DiLorenzo, 2018.

The watercolor illustrations are quite charming and amazing. At one point, Quincy turns into an entire landscape scene of rainbows and mountains. I appreciate that in addition to showing his thoughts, Di Lorenzo also depicts his feelings. A stormy sky full of clouds and lightning or a gloomy black covered with jeering classmates.

Ultimately, with the help of an understanding art teacher, Quincy learns that perhaps he was meant to stand out. He eventually gains acceptance from his classmates when they see the beautiful landscape he paints on the playground wall. In the end, though he is "as colorful as ever," Quincy is one happy, artistic chameleon.

This is a good book for young children about staying true to yourself and developing an understanding that it's okay for you and others to be different.


- write about a time when others laughed at you or teased you. Did you feel like Quincy? Have you ever laughed at someone else? Do you think they felt like Quincy? Have you ever stood up for someone who was a little different?

- draw your own camouflaged chameleon. Where would yours hide? What colors would it be? or

- create a color-changing chameleon paper plate craft (

This post is part of a series by authors and KidLit bloggers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays. For more picture book suggestions see Susanna Leonard Hill's Perfect Picture Books.

If you are in the area, stop by Labyrinth Bookstore, 16 Nassau Street, Princeton, NJ 08542 on April 7, 2018 from 3 - 4 pm

or Little City Books,100 Bloomfield St, Hoboken, NJ 07030 on Sunday, April 15th, 2018 at 11am to meet Quincy, Little Dragon, and Scoop.

Additional events can be found at -

Maria Marshall

 Photograph © A. Marshall

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