An unusual look at colors provides something for preschoolers and something more for older kids.
Pomelo, a tiny elephant, initially appears integrated into a black-and-white checkerboard, his body black where the squares are white and vice versa. Wanting more, he becomes pink and “rediscovers” color in his garden environment. One sentence carries the text through 120 pages in this small, square volume, but that sentence never stretches thin. Each spread showcases an example of a single hue. Badescu places all the whites in a row, then the yellows, then the oranges, creating a calm neatness that holds things steady while the color examples bounce between conventional and complex. From familiar (“the glowing yellow of fireflies”) to surprising (“the happy gray of rain”), from abstract (“the gray of things you can’t quite remember”) to concrete (“the green-gray of rot”), the sensibility’s always whimsical. A subtle philosophical arc charts how “the promising red of ripening strawberries” becomes “the mysterious blue of dreams”—Pomelo dreams, in blue, of future strawberries—and then “the deflating gray of disappointment” as the fruit, crushingly, turns gray on the plant. Chaud’s art is sweet, offbeat and eye-catching, even when oranges and carrots are darker than real life.
While preschoolers dip in and out for fun, older kids could use these inventively expanded color definitions as inspiration in an art or English classroom. (Picture book. 3-13)