A bright, cheerful illustration of the reason why picture books shouldn’t be product-placement vehicles.
Although the back lists the illustrator credit in miniscule font, the front cover and spine credit only “PANTONE®” as creator of this concept piece. PANTONE® is a company that offers a trademarked system of standardized colors—a method of specifying and matching colors from afar. Here, each right-hand page features a cartoony object in a single hue, while the facing left-hand page has a 20-square grid of variations on that hue. Assets are the vibrant visual energy throughout and an emphasis on hue variations that can be detected in the facing illustration. But every variation broadcasts a name and identity number—and the brand, lest readers forget. Some names are cutesy (“Pink Lemonade Pink: PANTONE 210”), others meaningless as color identifiers (“Apron Blue: PANTONE 314”; “Mitten Purple: PANTONE 259”). Readers old enough to comprehend the PANTONE concept will have long outgrown this toddler-friendly art; worse, when they read the disclaimer that “PANTONE Colors may not match PANTONE-identified standards. Consult current PANTONE Color Publications for accurate color,” they’ll be disgusted that a color standardization company is betraying its own raison d’être.
Twenty times per spread is too much brand trumpeting for, well, anyone; still, this will sell as a baby-shower gift for expectant graphic designers. (Board book. 1-3)