Hilarious pictures show what happens when a bored chameleon wishes it could be more like other animals, but is finally convinced it would rather just be itself. An imagination-stretcher for children.
“The high committee of the Board of the Egyptian Board on Books for Young Children is honored to award a certificate of recognition prize for best publisher to Al-Balsam Publishing House for The Mixed-Up Chameleon in recognition of your efforts to enrich children’s literature in Egypt.”
The certificate was awarded to the publishing house in a formal awards ceremony held at the Cairo Opera House and handed by Egypt’s First Lady, Mrs. Suzanne Mubarak and Mrs. Farida Al Wakil, head of the Egyptian Board on Books for Young Children (EBBY).
“Eric Carle of Hungry Caterpillar fame adapts the successful formula of that book here in a fantasy about the mysterious chameleon. Bored with its life—sitting about predictably changing color all day long—a little chameleon is inspired by a visit to the zoo to fantasize. “I wish I could be big and white like a polar bear.” But when its wish is miraculously granted, it is not satisfied; there begins a whole series of increasingly hilarious metamorphoses as the chameleon tries on the coats of other animals, adding the tail of a fox, the fins of the fish and the glory of the flamingo, to no avail. Carle’s rainbow-colored palette and nonsensical humor are right to the fore.”
– The Washington Post, May 8, 1988
“K-GR 3 — Collage illustrations characteristic of much of Carle’s work are showcased in this reissue of The Mixed-Up Chameleon. The collages mimic the form and relationship to text of the original crayon drawings but the bold colors of the original have been muted and in doing so have helped focus readers on the ever-changing composition of the mixed-up animal. In addition to the new illustrations, the text has been tightened in this revision. In both editions, the illustrations enhance and complement the text, but in this revision, the illustrations have become an integral part of the story, adding information not stated. A chance to compare and contrast the two editions will give older readers some insight into the writing and editing process and the role of illustrations in picture books. A book that’s sure to remain a perennial favorite.”
– by Sharron McElmeel, School Library Journal, December, 1984
“Ages 4-7. Children and librarians will welcome this new edition of Carle’s funny story about the chameleon that tries changing into other animals but finds it is best just to be itself. Carle has replaced the heavy-lined, childlike, scrawled colors with crisp, appealing collages and has streamlined the text. The cutaway pages have been retained, and none of the humor has been lost. The simpler text results in a smoother flow, and children will enjoy the resulting repetition. For example, where the 1975 edition read, “If I could be like a fox, then I would be smart. Instantly it had a fox’s fluffy red tail.” Now it simply says, “I wish I could be smart like a fox,” with the illustrations showing the fluffy red tail. A good candidate for a replacement order or, where it is not in the collection, for an addition to the picture-book shelf.”
– by BE, Booklist, November 15, 1984