Green Pants, in which Jameson gets to make the call

One  of my favorite books of 2017 is this quirky little number by Kenneth Kraegel.

Green Pants (Candlewick) found a place in my heart because it’s a story in which every kiddo can see him/herself. Heck, every adult can, too.

Jameson has these green pants, see, and they’re his favorite thing to wear. When he’s in his green pants, he feels like he can do anything — and we get see how spectacular he is at dunking, diving, and dancing in those pants. Once in awhile, some well-meaning person gives him pants that aren’t green. Pfft. No problem. He gets rid of them in creative ways.

Then he’s asked to be in a wedding. His cousin’s wedding. And his cousin’s bride immediately steals Jameson’s heart with “the nicest smile Jameson had ever seen.” (Please pardon my photos. They do NOT do justice to Kraegel’s artwork.)

Problem. He’ll have to wear a tux. With black pants. *gulp*

Jameson’s mom lays out the hard truth:  to be in the wedding, he must wear black pants. Jameson still can’t imagine NOT wearing green pants.

But here’s what I love most about this story. Does Mom then lecture? No. Does she bargain? No. Does she threaten? No. She leaves the decision up to him! RARELY do we get to see that kind of empowerment in a picture book.

So Jameson, and Jameson alone, is faced with an impossible dilemma:  watch the wedding in his beloved green pants, or be in the wedding in black ones. And Kraegel takes us right to the door of the church with the decision still unmade.

On the next page, the bride peeks out the door to smile at Jameson. All she says is she’s glad he’s there and she’ll see him inside. But that smile and few warm words is all it takes. Another page turn shows Jameson walking down the aisle in his tux.

Kids will love the end of this one, when, at the reception, Jameson rips off the black pants to reveal a funny surprise that feels  absolutely right and also brings this delightful story full circle.

This one’s a charmer, folks. It even got a star from Kirkus, and you know how tough that is!

If any of you teachers want to use Green Pants in the classroom, you can find a full-sized teacher’s guide on Pinterest.

How much do I love this book? So much that it inspired me to write a similar-but-not-at-all-like-it story of my own,           Frog Boots (which comes out next fall from Sterling).

The winner of our giveaway of Maryann Macdonald’s Rosa’s Animals was Kate Heling! Congratulations, Kate!

Jill Esbaum

Jill Esbaum has been picture book crazy since her 3 kids were little, and especially so after her first was published in 2004 (Stink Soup). Recent titles: Stinkbird Has a Superpower, Jack Knight's Brave Flight, Where'd My Jo Go?, Frog Boots, How to Grow a Dinosaur, Frankenbunny, If a T. Rex Crashes Your Birthday Party, Elwood Bigfoot– Wanted: Birdie Friends!, Teeny Tiny Toady, I Am Cow, Hear Me Moo!, and more. Coming in 2024: Parrotfish Has a Superpower and Bird Girl: Gene Stratton-Porter Shares Her Love of Nature with the World. She's also the author of many nonfiction books for young readers, as well as an early graphic reader series, Thunder & Cluck. Learn more at


  1. This is a must find! Thank you for telling us about it.

  2. This is definitely a quirky book but I bet many kids can relate. I remember when my little brother refused to wear anything but blue. Good to know about the teacher’s guide!

  3. I had a kindergartner last week throw a temper b/c I gave him orange cubes in math instead of his favorite color–blue. I should be on the lookout for this book. Thanks, Jill!

  4. Reminds me of my kids. This book sounds so cute! Thank you for putting it on my radar.

  5. I really need to find this book for my two 7 year old granddaughters, who definitely have unique tastes in clothing selection! And, my favorite color is green! 🙂

  6. Sounds like a special read. Thanks for the heads up.

  7. Green Pants sounds like it can charm the pants right off me! I love that he gets to make the hard decision – I bet it’s the right one! 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

  8. Good book. Good review. Thanks!

  9. This is one of my favorite books. It hits the mark on so many levels!!

  10. Thank you for sharing. I will get this book for my great-grandson.

  11. Alas my favorite pants are on their last legs (sorry) – AGH! Great premise! We all have a pair of “green pants.”

  12. Don’t we all have an article of clothing like the green pants. I’ll definit read this one.

  13. I love this book!

  14. I had purple corduroy tennis shoes and that was in junior high. They made me feel magical. I know how this kid feels. Great story. I’ll check it out.

    • You just reminded me of something, Cassie — I had a royal purple corduroy jumper in junior high that was my favorite thing to wear to school! (Can’t believe, now, how short that thing was.)

  15. This is the second time I’ve read about this picture book. I better get busy and find it! Yay! Thanks for sharing!

  16. This looks like a good story. Thanks for posting about it.

    And I can’t wait to see Frog Boots when it comes out.

  17. This book is great! I love how the child struggles with making a decision. I often do, too!

  18. I heard about this book so I checked it out of my library and instantly loved it. I shared it with my writers’ group and we laughed, giggled and talked about clothes, pants and times we felt like the little boy in the story. our final come away we loved it and want to see more stories from the life of Jameson. Great Job!

  19. Thanks for the great review. Makes me want to wear green pants!

  20. Thank you, Jill. Yes, this is so relatable. For my son, it was his brown outfit. He wore it every Thursday. Brown shirt, brown shorts, and brown socks. He was never asked to be in a wedding on a Thursday though. Ha-ha!

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