Friday, June 30, 2017

You Choose! What's Your Favorite Color? by Eric Carle

If we had to guess Eric Carle's favorite color, we might say GREEN. After all, he's famously done a hungry green caterpillar, a greedy green python, a green elephant, a foolish green tortoise, green dragons, and even a green red fox. But then he's also famously done a brown bear, of course, a black and white panda, a homeless red hermit crab and a grouchy red ladybug, a blue horse, and confused chameleon of many hues. A proponent of strong, assertive colors, Carle has featured most of them in his seventy-plus books.

But in his latest picture book, What's Your Favorite Color? (Henry Holt and Company, 2017) Carle confesses that his favorite color is YELLOW, and backs that assertion up with his trademark yellow sun, indeed appearing in many of his books.

Color is one of the artist's main tools, and in this latest companion book to his What's Your Favorite Animal? (see my 2014 review here), Eric Carle invites fifteen of his famous colleagues to submit their favorite, with a show-and-tell on the features of their chosen color.

Bryan Collier favors BLUE, the blue of the balloons that makes him and his little daughter smile. Anna Dewdney picks PURPLE, the purple of the peacock in her yard and of the pantsuit in her closet. Ettienne Delessert insists on the indigo hue of Tuareg veils in the desert, and Yuyi Morales picks the vibrant Mexican pink of bougainvillea blossoms.

Melissa Sweet counters with the gray of a Maine morning, the gray of fog, seagulls, and granite; while William Low selects BROWN, the color of his own neighborhood. Philip C. Stead's favorite is GREEN, the green of an elephant who just feels like being green one day, and Lauren Castillo loves the WHITE of snow that changes everything to white. Mike Curato picks MINT GREEN because it's the color of his favorite ice cream cone. Frann Preston-Gannon prefers ORANGE, while Jill McElmurray elects BLACK for its unpredictability.  Mark Martin chooses the contrast of CRIMSON RED, the color of a flashy Australian parrot.

The venerable Uri Shulevitz can't seem to choose just one, because, as he says, "a single color may feel lonely."  So ALL COLORS it is!  Carle's endpapers also salute several hues, with simple vertical wide-brush strokes that present stunning paintings on their own.

Carle, the unofficial dean of American picture book artists, has created a book which honors his colleagues and no doubt will have young readers musing about their own favored hues.  This one is a great choice for libraries, for a favorite young artist,  or a favorite art teacher to use with classes. "A creative collection to savor one-on-one or to spark classroom art and writing exercises," suggests School Library Journal's starred review.

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