Colors beautify the world.
“When long ago the world was young and everything was new,” things were bleak and needed prettying up. As told through this creation (rather than concept) tale and narrated via rhyme that is more enthusiastic than it is graceful, a red-haired, white male maestro leads a team of enthusiastic paints in jars in tackling that job. And go at the world with gusto the colors do, each taking on natural topographical features, foods, heavenly bodies, plants, and animals and imbuing them with their now-familiar hues. Some things remain colorless, however—to prepare humankind for the appearance of gorgeous rainbows and a powerful message: All colors are beautiful, bring unity, and “we find our best selves there.” Nice point, though the story takes a meandering time reaching it. The child-appealing illustrations are energetic but pose their own challenges. The book’s child characters are racially diverse, but two apparently Asian characters display unfortunate stereotypes, as they usually appear with closed eyes. Moreover, the male, who seems to represent a Pacific Islander, is portrayed as rotund, with yellowish-brown skin, wears an animal-tooth necklace and a loincloth, and brandishes flaming torches. Some readers may also note the odd portrayal of the (literal) leader of the paints: Why is he depicted as a musical conductor and not an artist?
While colorfully executed, this conveys a message about colors that not every youngster may get. (Picture book. 3-6)