A kid helps a monster sort out his emotions.
A monster arrives, multicolored, with frowning mouth and troubled eyes. “Are you all mixed up again, Color Monster?” asks an inexplicably annoyed-looking child. Then, either the child or a narrative voice proclaims, “Your emotions don’t work well when they’re all jumbled up.” The child, now smiling, offers to help separate the monster’s emotions “and put each one in its own jar.” Each emotion is assigned one color, and the monster turns that color only (rather than multicolored) while that feeling is explained. Placing emotions literally into jars implies an odd repressiveness, while declarations such as “When you’re sad, you…want to be alone” are unnecessarily universalizing. The textual descriptions sometimes contradict the visual messages, showing aesthetically cheerful or peaceful artwork for spreads about sadness or confusion. However, taken on their own, the multimedia illustrations are downright splendid. Using wax colors, watercolor pencils, acrylics, pencil, and collage, Llenas lays out entrancing textures and hues in enthralling compositions with plenty of white space. Lines are scribble-style, checkered, and swirled; background paper is graphed, perforated, and newsprinted. Cardboard or cardstock cutouts, punctured and layered, look as though they could be felt by readers’ fingertips. Shapes are irregular and organic like home-cut crafts. Tugged across a blank white spread by the eager child, the multicolored monster trails collaged ribbons of color.
Ignore the lackluster, prescriptive text—get this Spanish import for its fabulous artwork. (Picture book. 3-6)