Animation sensibilities are reflected in the quirky silliness this brother and sister team (he a game designer, she a former Disney artist) brings to their first original picture book.
Eleven anthropomorphic animals drawn in bold black lines against clean white backgrounds each wear a spot of color: a zebra in a pink–polka dot dress, a Dalmatian in a red cape, skunks in blue swim trunks. One drum-playing kitty even sports an aqua mohawk. Each color/animal appears on a spacious double-page spread in which lead initials of the rhyming couplet that forms the text and each color word are printed in the featured color. The rhymes read smoothly for the most part and provide hints for beginning readers. The colors chosen are not the standard crayon-box eight, and unfortunately they are not all pure colors. The vest on the traffic-directing horse is on the dull-brown side of orange, and the maroon flag planted on the moon by a proud badger is more brown than red mixed with purple, making it less than “striking.” The final message brings all the animals together for two final double-page spreads; while not preachy, it is not at all subtle: “From the darkest of dark to the brightest of bright, / we're each pretty special, not quite BLACK and WHITE.”
Despite the missteps, parents and teachers looking to insert a message of diversity into a color lesson could do worse. (Picture book. 3-5)