Shattered Illusions

William Schmidt's Headshot

“In a small, happy zoo, somewhere in the Southwest, lives a ‘Mingo named Sue, who is color obsessed.” 

These are the opening words of the children’s book series entitled Sue the ‘Mingo written by W.J. Smith, Jr who has a degree in business administration from the university. 

The first book was published in 2014 and I will say that the colorful pages illustrated by Louisiana native Kev Allen are intriguing. Normally, my mind is easily distracted and most people who have studied child development, or may have kids of their own, knows that the attention span of a child is thin. But, with each page turning putting an emphasis on a different color, it is just enough chaos to keep my mind focused on the story and art but not so much chaos that it is overbearing. As for young children, the focus on one color per page turn is perfect as well as the words are simple enough that I believe this book is perfect as a child begins to grow.

The first book in the series focuses on ‘Mingo wondering if a flamingo outside of pink would be more interesting. My favorite page is when ‘Mingo wonders, “Or, what about orange, what a curious sight. I’d look like a tall pumpkin on Halloween night.”

And if you have a small one unable to read yet, the colors alone will entice their young eyes, with each color word shaded in their respected color. 

Though the first Sue the ‘Mingo had many fine qualities, you can tell it was a time on a new project of writer and illustrator working together. The pure cohesion was not there but for that one fault, they nailed that problem to rest in the second book of “Sue the ‘Mingo goes to Mardi Gras” which is once again written by Smith, Jr., illustrated by Allen and published this year.

The familiar opening is at the start of the book, once again the wording of each color is shaded with respect and as I turned the pages which made me feel as if I was in New Orleans, I could tell that the writer and illustrator were as one.

Once again, ‘Mingo is on an adventure and her venture brings her to the City of New Orleans to see if flamingos are pink.

As she embarks on her adventure she partakes in balls wearing blue masks, parades catching beads of red, the eating of white beignets and much more. This again brings the colors that I believe will entice children to linger on each page leading to more time to pause making the transition to sleep easier.

But what really brought in this second book was how author not only wrote about the colors that ‘Mingo encountered, but also the illustrations that brought in the true essence of New Orleans. I saw familiar balconies, street corners, chuckled when I saw a shrimp holding a “Go Saints” sign and for an adult, didn’t want the book to end. 

I am sure that ‘Mingo has many colorful stories for us to read about in the future, but for now I will leave you with the moral of ‘Mingo’s story which is to “Dream like a ‘Mingo.”