Reviews of children's and young adult books old and new

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Wrong Color can Sometimes be the Right One

White is for Blueberry by George Shannon pictures by Laura Dronzek

Think you know the colors of nature? Think again. White is for Blueberry teaches us it depends on when you look at something, how near or far you are, and if you look on the outside or the inside because colors change throughout the growing cycle of plants and animals. The book begins with a crazy statement like "PINK is for crow..." and then you turn the page to reveal that when a crow has just hatched it is pink. The book continues in that format until you reach the end and are reminded of how plants and animals change.

This is a wonderful book! A refreshing change to the standard color books. I feel that teaching children multiple colors for one item is O.K. I know that some people disagree with me and feel that it confuses children but I am here to say that children only get confused when they are exposed to this type of book too late (by age 5 or 6). When children are young they are so curious and what to know "why" about everything. This type of book helps to encourage and pique that curiosity by challenging some of the assumptions they have already formed at a young age. Challenging those assumptions early helps a child to understand that things change and that there is not always one correct answer to every question. Having that attitude as they grow up makes for a very teachable child. What is a teachable child? It is a child who does not fight you when you tell them that the Indians and Pilgrims did not get along all the time, it is a child who can accept that there is such a thing as imaginary numbers, and it is a child who is willing to think about new concepts without being threatened by them. Alright, now that I am down off my soap box let the book review continue. The illustrations are great for this book. They look like they were done with pastels and have a rough and fuzzy quality to them. This helps the concept that you have to really look at something and examine it. The color choices are bright when they needed to be and muted when that was called for, in other words Dronzek did a good job of determining what needed more or less emphasis. The format of the book with a color being attributed to an unlikely object and then the reveal when you turn the page is great for having a young reader guess how the author is going to make the color and object align. I highly recommend this book, not only for the mental stimulation which I think it will give a 2-4 year old but also because it is well written and a fun book to read.

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