Operators at a color factory lose control and ask readers for help.
A panda, a zebra, and a bespectacled penguin—the same characters who managed The Black and White Factory (2016)—invite readers into the Color Factory for a grand-opening tour. This manufacturing plant uses a fancy replicating machine to calculate a color’s exact ingredients. The color-creation process is never depicted; instead, one page displays the upcoming color’s ingredients—Fire Engine Red and Canary Yellow make Factory-Approved Orange, for instance—while the following page reveals objects of that color (in this case, basketballs, traffic cones, and safety vests). The text bristles with rigid language, such as “strict formulas,” and frequent repetition of the terms “Factory-Approved” and “perfect”; when things inevitably go awry, the drama feels as forced as these rules do. It’s also unclear quite how things go awry. After readers are asked to pull blue and pink separately onto a lollipop, the lollipop suddenly has brown-gray stripes, and other objects are somehow colored in warm grays: “We do not approve!” yells the zebra as sirens wail. Actions requested of readers—tapping, rubbing, or inhaling colors—are disconnected from the displayed results. A chaos of circles, swirls, diagonals, and jagged lines along with too many similarly saturated colors create busy pages lacking focus. Hervé Tullet’s Mix It Up (2014) treats similar themes brilliantly and without blaming readers in the process.
Visually cheap, narratively forced. (Picture book. 4-7)