Poems and eclectic tidbits about colors.
Although it maintains a superficially traditional approach of highlighting one hue per spread—sort of! sometimes!—this quirky colorfest is anything but standard. Free-spirited poems follow no particular structure: “Loudly, rowdy / daffodils yell hello. / Hot yellow” is the short, tongue-twisty first. A blue bear mourns spilled blueberries in patter that begs participation: “Oh, what did I do? / Blue-hoo, / Blue-hoo!” A verdant expanse exudes warmth and the “Green smell of a summer lawn. / Damp dawn long gone.” A second green poem features a hilarious dragon-and-ogre food chain; equally funny, a paintbrush-holding cat offers the esoteric terms “alizarin,” “cadmium,” and “quinacridone” to a dog in overalls, who responds, pithily, “Red.” Paschkis’ gouache-on-paper illustrations are elegant, playful, and expressively variable from page to page—each spread displays a new style and mood, including a wavy, all-encompassing ocean, a sad, slightly eerie minimalist forest, and a sated pig reclining on a hillside after a mouthwatering picnic. Across from the poems sit informational tidbits: etymology of “green” from “grene” and “growan”; the more yellow plants a chicken eats, the deeper yellow their eggs’ yolks are; where dye comes from. Hardcore science, including light refraction, will float over many readers’ heads, but there is no harm done. The assertion that the “Himba tribe of Namibia still has no word for orange” verges on exoticization and, unfortunately, is located on a spread with monkeys.
Full to bursting, juicy, never jammed. (author’s note) (Picture book/poetry. 3-7)