THE COLOR BOOK by Sophie Benini Pietromarchi


Age Range: 7 - 11
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Verbosity and loose metaphor overwhelm a few pretty spreads and intriguing projects in this unfocused tribute to colors.

Pietromarchi “would rather not have written any words at all” about color, she claims, but then she proceeds to talk up a blue streak. Positing that “[c]olor speaks for itself” and can’t be explained verbally, she then employs copious words to take readers on a “color dance.” The color dance, despite being her core figure of speech, never makes sense. Textual muddles include vagueness (“color lets you travel, across…realms”), mismatches between text and pictures (a full spread waxing poetic about yellow but showing orange), and missed opportunities (“even…a small yellow door” is interesting, says a spread that shows no door at all). Instead of explaining how blue paint changes other colors, she explains how a (metaphorical) “blue feather” changes them. Readers willing to wade through the long-windedness (or peruse in nonlinear fashion) will enjoy fables about a hue’s mood and vibe, fancifully colored animals, sophisticated color-mixing exercises and a few lovely color scales. A sequence of “shrines of color” presents household and nature items divided by hue. The illustrations have a delicate style throughout—too delicate: Fighting to be noticed, bizarrely, are the colors themselves. Their visual reproduction is more often dry than juicy, and they drown in the rambling word clutter.

Color explorations should be robust and clear; this one’s dull and oddly alienating. (Informational picture book. 7-11)

Pub Date: April 15th, 2014
ISBN: 978-93-83145-01-0
Page count: 144pp
Publisher: Tara Publishing
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 2014


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