Don't Drink the Pink


Children - Picture Book
40 Pages
Reviewed on 06/06/2019
Buy on Amazon

Author Biography

B.C.R. Fegan is an award-winning author who has written a number of books for children and young adults. He is inspired by stories that resonate deeply with our desire for adventure, yearning for magic and search for meaning.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Sarah Scheele for Readers' Favorite

Don’t Drink the Pink by B.C.R. Fegan is a children’s book about the magic of a girl’s relationship with her grandfather, beautifully illustrated by Lenny Wen. The girl, Madeline, narrates the story of how her Grandfather Gilderberry creates little potions in his workshop. She drinks a potion on every one of her birthdays for fourteen years. Each potion is a different color and causes something magical to happen to her for that birthday. Her grandfather always admonishes her not to choose the pink one. “Just don't drink the pink." But when her grandfather dies, pink is the only color potion left. What will happen when she drinks it?

This is a high-quality book. The combination of detail in the storytelling and illustrations in Don’t Drink the Pink is really exceptional and the concepts are presented in a sophisticated way. The colored drinks are cued to an activity—such as becoming invisible or super-strength—and I felt there was intuitive suitability in the specific power each color gave to Madeline. And I was delighted by the honesty of B.C.R. Fegan’s writing that used the seemingly fantastical idea that a grandfather could give you special powers on your birthday to echo a child’s feelings accurately. Relationships with older relatives are unique in a child’s life and can be truly magical. Throughout the book, her grandfather is a touchstone for helping Madeline ground herself as she ages year by year and the potions she receives are in harmony with her personal development. The conclusion helps prepare children for the natural concept of a loved one’s passing as well, rounding out a great book I was delighted to read.

Jack Magnus

Don't Drink the Pink is a children’s adventure picture book written by B.C.R. Fegan and illustrated by Lenny Wen. Madeline adores her Grandfather Gilderberry. She thinks his tinkering and inventions are brilliant, especially the things he comes up with for each of her birthdays. From her first birthday on, he’s offered her a choice of potions, though he always seems to caution about passing up the pink one. The red one had her breathing fire, and the blue turned her into a mermaid. What would the next one do? On her fifth birthday, Grandpa came to her party and let her friends also try her special birthday potion. Madeline’s parents had so much trouble finding the tiny beings they had become! With each year, Grandfather Gilderberry surprised and delighted her, but he seemed to get older and frailer as she grew up.

B.C.R. Fegan’s children’s adventure picture book, Don't Drink the Pink, is a bitter-sweet homage to the friendship and love between a grandfather and his granddaughter. I loved the author’s use of color and numbers and the imaginative gifts that each birthday’s potion brings. Lenny Wen’s illustrations are marvelous and magical and heighten the adventure lived each year. Most of the pictures are suitable for framing and hanging in a child’s room. Adults should bear in mind that part of the message in this book is that growing older is real and part of life. Very young, impressionable or children who have been recently bereaved may find the book emotionally hard to deal with as Madeline’s loss at the end of the book may be a bit stark and upsetting for them. Don't Drink the Pink is recommended.

Joel R. Dennstedt

Almost by nature, children’s books are magical, but Don’t Drink the Pink by B.C.R. Fegan, illustrated by Lenny Wen, provides so many extra doses of beguiling magic that one tends to fly off on personally-induced imaginings prompted by this book’s irresistible array of incredible, incredulity-producing, plot scenes. The storyline is infectious. Our narrator, a young girl deliciously ensnared and entranced by a doting but mysterious grandpa, recalls a youthful lifetime of annual birthdays memorably marked by freely picking one of Grandpa’s strange, distinctly-colored potions to imbibe. Just … don’t drink the pink. The suspense of impatiently waiting to see what will happen when … assuredly, inevitably … we get to witness the choosing of the pink elixir is only outweighed by the great delight in seeing what magic happens specifically for every other color.

From one year old to age 15, young Madeline obeys Grandpa’s titled admonition: Don’t Drink the Pink, and the author B.C.R. Fegan and illustrator Lenny Wen do much more than minimally required in piquing and rewarding our ever-escalating curiosity about what will happen if Madeline should stray, but also about the miraculous things that happen when choosing red at one, blue at two, yellow at three, and …. In every case, each age is revealed in simple but elegant rhymes illustrated by marvelous renderings, superbly enhancing the fantastical experiences. Both words and pictures capture perfectly the magic-filled events gifted to Madeline by her Grandpa on each birthday, when, of course, she always avoids drinking the pink. Until, fatefully, on a most special celebration day, she does.

Louanne Piccolo

Don’t Drink the Pink by B.C.R. Fegan is a children’s picture book about Madeline, a young girl with a doting grandfather. While she loves him dearly, she particularly loves seeing him when her birthday comes around. Every year, he appears with a tray of potions in an array of beautiful colours and asks her to choose one, and every year he cautions her to not drink the pink. Each new potion gives her magical powers and wonderful, exciting adventures. From becoming a mermaid for the day to becoming invisible and even being able to fly – Madeline is a lucky girl! Then one year, her grandfather doesn’t come. When she goes to his house, she finds a note in her grandfather’s writing propped up against the mysterious pink potion…

Don’t Drink the Pink took me on a trip back in time and made me feel like a child again. This beautifully illustrated picture book is enchanting and magical with just the right dose of suspense for young readers. B.C.R. Fegan has found the formula for creating irresistible fiction for young readers, both drawing them in and compelling them to follow the story right through to the end. If you have a young child who enjoys listening to rhyming prose, Don’t Drink the Pink will not only delight them, but will have them joining in at every occasion. Endearing, bittersweet and homespun, Don’t Drink the Pink is a picture book you can read with your child over and over again and never get bored.

Donna Gielow McFarland

Don’t Drink the Pink by B.C.R. Fegan is a wild romp of a picture book. Madeline’s Grandfather Gilderberry spends his time in his workshop brewing up colorful potions, all of which do something magical. Madeline adores the eccentric old man and every year looks forward to when he shows up on her birthday. Every year is the same: “Take a potion, take a brew. Just don’t drink the pink.” So every year Madeline chooses a potion of a different color and it turns her into a mermaid or makes her as fast as a locomotive or does something even more magical. And every year Madeline and Grandfather Gilderberry grow one year older. Illustrator Lenny Wen’s detail-packed illustrations make each page of Don’t Drink the Pink practically burst with color.

Imagination fills every page of Don’t Drink the Pink. I was eager to know what would happen if Madeline were to drink the pink. She certainly has a lot more self-control than I would have! Every year, as she continued to get older, I thought, “Drink the pink! I want to know what happens!” Meanwhile, the adventures, perfectly illustrated, keep getting more extraordinary. Don’t Drink the Pink is a children’s picture book and it includes few educational elements such as numbers and colors, and each year Madeline is one year older. Grandfather Gilderberry gets one year older, too. Don’t Drink the Pink is not all fun and magic, however, and does include poignant moments. It made me cry. Don’t Drink the Pink is a well-crafted story.