(Survey of Young Adult Fiction)

The basic message of Bright April is clear: All people are the same within, although they may vary on the outside. This didactic book presents both those who are “pink” and those who are “coffee-colored” as similar, equally important people. Marguerite de Angeli also depicts the likenesses—not the differences—between Sophie’s Judaism and April’s Christianity. This concentration on similarities and the presentation of minorities as positive, main characters were important breakthroughs in children’s literature.

A second prominent theme also emerges: doing one’s best. In social encounters, at Brownie activities, and in school, this second lesson is quite explicit in Bright April.

Bright April is moralistic. Through example, mottoes, and long, verbal discourses, the adults (Mama Bright, Papa Bright, Miss Cole, Miss Bell, and Flicker) seek to instill in April certain values: cleanliness, thriftiness, pleasantness, quality of performance, education, and respect of self and others. April is a model child who listens, accepts, and tries to emulate these behaviors. The results for April are the love of others, promotion, and achievement. These explicit admonitions and how they help April are quite apparent to young readers.

Throughout the book, the author also presents readers with much information about the world. For example, the reader finds data about the American postal service as April...

(The entire section is 421 words.)