Those Green Things


32 pages
ISBN 1-55037-376-5
DDC jC813'.54





Illustrations by Deirdre Betteridge
Reviewed by Ted McGee

Ted McGee is an associate professor of English at St. Jerome’s
College, University of Waterloo.


Given the sharp focus on color they share and the emphatic pattern of
repetition, it is hard not to compare Those Green Things with
Stinson’s classic Red Is Best.

Instead of a girl’s insistent affirmation of her favorite color in
Red Is Best, the girl in Those Green Things repeatedly asks what certain
green things are and, having been told, indicates what she imagined them
to be (e.g., socks in a laundry basket were lizards eating her T-shirts;
spinach in an omelet was bugs and worms not yet ripe). Her fantastic and
funny creatures contrast sharply with her mother’s mundane realities.
And her mother’s attempt to quell the questioning with a fiction of
her own (“Those green things on the porch are Martians. They are
coming to take me to Mars so you can’t ask me any more questions about
those green things”) fails to stop the girl.

Whereas the illustrations in Red Is Best have a charming simplicity,
those in Those Green Things capture the imaginative playfulness of the
central character. The cartoonlike humans, bright colors, bold
background patterns, distorted things, and weird points of view provide
lots of pizzazz. What’s more, the pictures tell another story, one
that adult readers of the book should appreciate, for they depict the
frenetic side of everyday life when one has two irrepressible children
to attend to along with a garden to plant, laundry to do, meals to
serve, and a ballerina to chauffeur. Highly recommended.


Stinson, Kathy., “Those Green Things,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 14, 2024,