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WHAT COLOR IS CAESAR? by Maxine Kumin

WHAT COLOR IS CAESAR?

By Maxine Kumin (Author) , Alison Friend (Illustrator)

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-7636-3432-2
Publisher: Candlewick

A faux-philosophical problem, predictable plot and overlong text combine to create a disappointingly dull adventure. Caesar the Great Dane is obsessed with the question of whether he’s black with white spots or vice versa. He gets no help from the cat, the doctor (who is, inexplicably, a woodpecker), a cow, a pony or a zebra. All are pictured patterned black and white, but each believes itself to be some other color entirely, except for the cat, who just doesn’t care. The pony, for example, claims to be green based in part on his birth in the “green pasture in the green month of May.” When the zebra, part of a traveling circus, directs him to a “make-believe guru” named Harry, Caesar finally finds an answer, sort of. Told that he can be any color “in [his] heart” Caesar decides that he is all the colors of the rainbow and rushes home for dinner. Friend’s paintings, executed in gouache and featuring wide-eyed characters and a sunny pastoral setting, are pleasant enough but don’t redeem this tedious tale. (Picture book. 4-8)