A debut storybook fantasy that aims to teach children about primary and secondary colors.
“Once upon a time long ago,” the story begins, all the colors existed only in a rainbow, and the Earth below had only shades of black and white. Pairings of the primary color guardians—red, yellow and blue—have “raised” secondary guardians of orange, green, and purple. The guardians, it turns out, can’t share their colors with Earth unless they find a way to pierce the planet’s “rainbow ring.” The light dragon Sunzar brings them the Book of Secrets & Wonders, which tells them exactly what to do, and they dutifully ride off on their light rays to lasso a winged unicorn and bring it back to Earth. Sergeant Skeeter and the other glitter fairies help the color guardians in their quest to lasso Starkanian, king of the unicorns. They do so, and assure him they mean no harm. As soon as he’s brought back to Earth, the unicorn pierces the rainbow ring, unleashing a torrent of color, and everything on Earth turns the color that it is today. At the end of the story, the primary blue and secondary purple somehow produce a seventh, indigo guardian. Sketchy, colored-pencil illustrations effectively show the drab, gray Earth, but the rainbow colors fail to dazzle in comparison, and although the author introduces the primary guardians of red, yellow, and blue by name, he doesn’t give them distinct personalities. Many pages include too-large blocks of text, unrelieved by dialogue or paragraph breaks. At one point, “[h]aving never seen RAINBOW guardians before, Skeeter inquired as to who they were, where they were from, and most importantly what they wanted”—indirect questions to which readers already know the answers. Children old enough to read the dense text may find that the adventure lacks real, engaging conflict, while younger children may simply be confused.
An ambitious but ultimately unsuccessful children’s tale.