This bright new entry by an old pro should find a place on the long shelf of picture books about animals and colors.
A narrator-artist appears at the beginning and end, confidently wielding a brush. Each spread in between showcases a single large, arresting animal portrait. The child-friendly theme features fanciful coloring: blue horse, pink rabbit, purple fox. Although the narrator claims specifically to “paint” each one, the illustrations are actually made from painted tissue-paper collage, which allows for stylized sharp edges and a lively choppiness. To emphasize the bold bushiness of the green lion’s mane and the thick, rugged armor on the dark-red crocodile, Carle pulls a tool through wet paint, leaving thick patterned lines. The textured, yellow-and-orange cow’s body reveals traces of darkness showing through from the night-sky background of black and green-blue. Fans of animals, color recognition or shouting out what’s unusual will laugh at each creature’s delightfully preposterous color. An author’s note pays homage to Franz Marc, a German painter born in 1880, and reproduces two pieces: Blue Horse I and Yellow Cow. The target audience here will find the concept of a tribute to a fine artist too abstract, but Marc’s colorful pieces themselves might well hold interest, with adult encouragement.
Eye-catching fun. (Picture book. 2-5)