Erik the Red, a creative redhead, doesn’t feel right. Suddenly, he can’t read the chalkboard, do the right homework or kick to his own team. Rhyming admonitions playfully correct him: “Erik the Red, is your brain still in bed?” He’s happiest in art class, until one day, he paints himself as Erik the Green. Classmate Annabel understands what’s wrong: He has color vision deficiency, also known as color blindness, just like her father. The new, green chalkboard, color-coded homework questions, and green and red pinneys mix him up. Erik’s green-tinted vision contrasts well with López’s brightly varied colors; even the eager faces of Erik’s classmates are a spectrum of diverse skin tones. Illustrations of everyday objects compare what Erik sees to what his classmates see, revealing that seemingly minor details—yellow chalk on a green chalkboard or color-coded index cards—can be a major problem for people with CVD. With careful explanations and simple, matter-of-fact accommodations, Erik can participate in school again, but in art class, he still enjoys being “color vision quirky.” An author’s note answers common questions about color vision deficiency and offers ways to help people with CVD (such as resisting the urge to quiz them on what color something is), and the yellow-green endpapers act as clever punctuation.
This cheery portrayal of color vision deficiency will appeal to curious and quirky kids who want to see the world a little differently. (author’s note) (Picture book. 4-8)