Vegetables in Underwear, Jared Chapman. Abrams Appleseed, 2015.
Dr. V’s take:
When you’re still pretty new at being a person, wearing underwear is a Big Deal. If you’re feeling low today, and you’re successfully wearing underwear (where “success” is defined as “you have neither stripped it off for no reason and run around naked, nor soiled it beyond its usefulness”), I hope you give yourself some credit: you are a champion. We don’t even realize how hard this is until we have to watch a small person fail at it repeatedly.
Because wearing underwear is such thankless hard work, little people’s enthusiasm for doing it can sort of wane after a bit.
Let Vegetables in Underwear help!
It’s pretty much what the title suggests: pictures of anthropomorphic vegetables that are super psyched about wearing underwear. It’s as strange as it sounds, and leaves me with so many questions. Why is the potato’s underwear too small for him? And, more importantly, why does he have a butt crack?
I can’t explain why it works. But something about a picture of a turnip in granny panties is bizarrely amusing. Maybe this says more about me that it does about the book.
But perhaps my favorite thing about this book, which celebrates underwear with such abandon, is that it is completely gender neutral. A gender neutral children’s book—-a gender neutral children’s anything—-can be ridiculously hard to find, and when it comes to things like underwear, it’s practically impossible. But the “underwear for boys” features a gourd in purple, and the “underwear for girls” is a carrot in green, with none of the usual weird attempts to gender inanimate objects that you tend to see in these kinds of things. It makes the whole underwear thing sort of fun and interesting again, and wholly unintimidating.