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by Marie Harris ; illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton

Age Range: 4 - 7

Pub Date: Sept. 26th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-399-25643-1
Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

A little girl with synesthesia engages the world with all five senses, plus.

Little Jillian is thoroughly in touch with her senses, relishing the taste of maple syrup on waffles and the smell of wet grass. But what she loves most are the colors that all the sounds she hears make. The bark of a dog is red, and the tinkle of her bicycle bell is silver. She loves school as wholeheartedly as everything else—her teacher’s voice is green—but when a lunchbox crashes to the floor and Jillian calls it yellow, all the children begin to laugh at her—a sad, black sound. When Music Day rolls around and all the children play, Jillian is overwhelmed by all the colors she hears. Fortunately the visiting musician is also a synesthete, so he understands exactly what she means and explains it to everybody. While the tidiness of Jillian’s resolution strains credulity, the exploration of her unusual perception charms. Brantley-Newton’s digitally composed illustrations present a ponytailed, freckle-faced little girl who greets the world with verve. Her teacher has a particularly groovy hairstyle (though it’s a little odd to see it repeated on both the musician and one of the little boys in Jillian’s class). A brief author’s note gives a little bit more information about synesthesia, grounding it in the experiences of children Harris has encountered on school visits.

An engaging look at a fascinating difference in perception, for younger readers. (Picture book. 4-7)