Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Compare and Contrast! Black and White by Debora Vogrig


... And as dawn lightens the sky, the brightening White slips insides the sleeping silhouetted buildings, seeking her friend Black, hiding, as he often is, under the bed. White pushes under the bed, and finds her friend.


White has got places to go and things to do in the morning, but Black decides to trail along, turning into a dark octopus, gleefully squirting dark ink onto the spotless white!

Next he organizes the black ink to make the black spots of a speedy Dalmation running into a forest of birchbark tree trunks. White and Black are on a roll now, and together they make a white polar bear with black nose and a flock of two-toned penguins at the opposite pole.

Moving fast, White and Black form a racing herd of Zebras and a black panther in the rain forest and they go down to the sea flying the black and white Jolly Roger flag of a pirate.

And then it is Black's turn to creep into the landscape, creating those elongated evening shadows. The spiral of darkness begins to take charge.

But the two friends still have just enough light for a game with black and white chess pieces, a sing-along with the black and white keys of the piano, one more story on the black-and-white of the printed page--and just enough light from the crescent moon and a million points of light in the black sky.

It takes TWO, in Debora Vogrig's latest, Black and White (Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2021).

Picture book gurus always advise choosing books for youngsters with vibrant colors, but, au contraire, this tour-de-force of picture book possibilities offers a bold sample of what can be done with black and white in the hands of an able author and an illustrious illustrator.

Working solely (but dually) with all-black and all-white pages, illustrator Pia Valentinis uses the contrasting markings of black-and-white animals to make each one easily recognizable in an eye-catching, brain-stimulating reverse-the field technique that illustrates the importance of differences, no matter how very diverse they can be.

Opposites attract, it seems, in this clever story of light and dark White and Black, working together to make their own world. "The story unfolds in short spare sentences that match the illustrations, both text and artwork presenting just enough for readers to fill in the details with their imaginations," says

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