Kirkus Reviews QR Code
THE GREAT BIG GREEN by Peggy Gifford Kirkus Star


by Peggy Gifford ; illustrated by Lisa Desimini

Pub Date: April 1st, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-62091-629-2
Publisher: Boyds Mills

An abundantly illustrated puzzle poem provides a spectacular celebration of green in the world.

The author of the Moxy Maxwell chapter-book trilogy offers something completely different in this lush tribute. An opening line sets the conversational tone: “The thing is, / the thing is green.” She goes on to provide examples of “mean green,” “dark and dangerous green” and “green things / that are good for you.” Her examples aren’t just things that grow; there are green socks, a green light for “go” and an old green door. The text reads aloud beautifully, building to the question, “Have you guessed yet?” and the final answer, revealed not in words but in a familiar image of Earth from space, with previous elements cleverly placed. Desimini’s imaginative illustrations complement and extend the graphically flexible text. Done with scanned textures and images combined into mixed-media collages, these are both realistic and imaginative, full of whimsy. Two young children, one dark-skinned, one light-, explore a world in which the range of green colors is remarkable and balanced with some surprises. There are the orange and tan of a green-eyed tiger, the red of a ladybug or a tree-frog’s eyes, and pink-purple skies. Readers will want to identify every fruit and vegetable and look for added elements (a snatch of “Greensleeves” in musical notation, for example).

Two fertile imaginations grow a grand salute.

(Picture book. 3-8)