Review of Vivid: Poems & Notes About Color

Vivid: Poems & Notes About Color
by Julie Paschkis; illus. by the author
Primary    Godwin/Holt    32 pp.
7/18    978-1-250-12229-2    $17.99

Fourteen color poems pair with vibrant gouache illustrations, beginning with the color yellow: “Loudly, rowdy / daffodils yell hello. / Hot yellow.” The poem, set inside a bright sun, blazes above butterflies, birds, flowers, and a bee, all in shades of yellow sketched out with swirls of thin black line. At the bottom of the opposite page is background information about the color; in this case, informing us that “yellow is often described as the color most visible to humans.” Then follow poems celebrating orange (“Orange you sweet?”), red, pink, purple, indigo, and so on. “Purple” features a regal Siamese cat wearing a long purple train; “Indigo” a diver plunging into a deep blue lake — but whatever the picture, each color is deeply saturated and luscious. Paschkis switches up her approach on some pages: one poem titled “Red to Pink” retells the folktale “Jack and the Beanstalk” as a way to discuss expressions that incorporate colors, ending with Jack being “tickled pink.” The last poem is, naturally, about a rainbow, depicted as a sequence of images of different-colored foods (“a rainbow picnic”) set on squares of their matching colors. An author’s note at the end does a good job explaining color theory, differentiating between pigments and the perception of light as color.

From the September/October 2018 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.
Susan Dove Lempke
Susan Dove Lempke
Susan Dove Lempke is a Horn Book reviewer and director of the Niles Public Library District in Illinois.

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