RAINBOW JOE AND ME

Strom debuts with an determinedly exuberant book about a cool young African-American artist, Eloise, whose fondness for bold colors and boldly outlined shapes is happily echoed in the full-bleed acrylic spreads. Mama tells Eloise not to bother Joe when the two talk on the front steps, but it’s hard for Eloise to contain her eagerness to tell her elderly friend about her paintings. Far from bothered, the blind man she calls Rainbow Joe for reasons apparent only at book’s end loves to listen; he approves of her imagination. Rainbow Joe claims to make the colors he sees in his head. “I know how to make them sing,” he says early on. “One of these days I’m going to show you.” Eloise’s knowledge of the color wheel, which she shares incrementally with readers, tells her that vision is needed to mix colors. Even Mama says the only color a blind person can achieve is muddy gray. It isn’t until Joe unpacks his saxophone and plays colors that Mama and Eloise can see them. This exploration of sensory differences and similarities is enlightening and enchanting. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 1999

ISBN: 1-880000-93-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Lee & Low Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1999

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BONNIE'S BLUE HOUSE

This color-concept book from newcomer Asbury has much going for it. The spare text (``I am Bonnie and this is my cat, Bluebonnet'') and the two-color illustrations (black and blue on a bed of white) are simple, direct, and oddly comforting. Bonnie recounts a day in her life: She introduces readers to her home, cavorts with her pals in a tree fort and swimming pool, sups, watches TV, reads her dad a bedtime story. For the most part, Asbury has chosen the vehicles for his color with a nod toward familiarity—blue water, blueberry pie, blue eyes (small, ghoulish buttons)—and sometimes with real invention: the flicker of the cathode ray, the glow of moonlight. The blue tree, on the other hand, is discordant. Two companion volumes, Rusty's Red Vacation (ISBN 0-8050-4021-8) and Yolanda's Yellow School (- 4023-4), take Asbury's color message aptly into those realms. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: April 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-8050-4022-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1997

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CARROTS OR PEAS?

An ingenious interactive book allows readers to decide for the characters what they love—and what they detest. “Does Tanek like milk? / … / Is Shen going to chew the carrot?” Strung within a die-cut hole, a face of perfect Peanuts roundness is suspended, one side beaming, the other glumly frowning. With each question, readers can reach out and spin the face to answer it accordingly. The book’s audience is at an age when adults constantly seek to con them—“Of course you like eggplant!”—so this opportunity for readers to take the emotional driver’s seat is downright liberating. Children’s names and skin colors allow for a broad ethnic representation in this and the three companion volumes: Teddy or Train? (ISBN: 978-1-84643-241-5), Bath or Bed? (ISBN: 978-1-84643-239-2) and Wind or Rain? (ISBN: 978-1-84643-240-8). (Ages 6-18 mos.)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-84643-242-2

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Child's Play

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2009

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