SWATCH by Julia Denos
Kirkus Star


The Girl Who Loved Color
by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 7
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Swatch is a color whisperer.

On bright white backgrounds, “in a place where colors ran wild,” Swatch—skinny, almond-eyed, and peach-skinned, with a striped shirt and ever changing headbands—tames swaths of color as if they’re animals. She bends and leaps, creeps and crouches; she stands on a fire hydrant and stretches impossibly upward to reach inky blue sky. Colors gush and burst around her—are they emanating from her hands and brushes or borne on the breeze? She hunts them wherever they are: “Bravest Green shot up the first week of March,” while “In-Between Gray lived on her kitten’s leg.” Denos’ text is fierce and crisp, her color-characters wondrous. Using a tight range of hue with spellbinding shapes and textures in watercolor, ink, and pencil, she creates a blue squall swirling with movement, simultaneously watery, sharp, and gusting. A yellow yawns and billows, part wind, part fox, part sunlight—but also purring and buttery. Despite Swatch’s label as a “tamer,” the colors all live free, visiting her of their own accord—“until the day she lured Just-Laid Blue straight from its nest and into a jam jar.” Now she’s trapping colors in glass jars, where they circle restlessly. But Yellowest Yellow, the last uncaptured color, shines bright on a sidewalk flower; they converse, and Swatch remembers about freedom.

For color wranglers and windblown spirits everywhere. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 15th, 2016
ISBN: 978-0-06-236638-2
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 2016


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