From School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1-Zena, a round-headed tot, wakes up in a room devoid of color, except for the polka dots on her bed, her face, and her shirt. Asking where the colors went, she heads through a black-and-white house to the outside. The first street is all yellow, the second, red. She states that she needs more colors, and the orange lion replies that he is yellow and red mixed. The next landscape is blue, then yellow again, so that the frog becomes green, and so on, until they enter a full-color room with pots of paint in primary colors. They paint a picture and go to bed in Zena's now Technicolor room to "dream of colors till morning." The story is followed by a color wheel and activity ideas. Wellington's trademark gouache childlike art is in evidence here. The frog, lion, and dragon that appear in the story are the toys on Zena's bed in the first scene. The basics of color and color mixing come through clearly, and Zena and her animals are appealing, but the story lacks cohesion and logic and is clearly a vehicle to explain color mixing to children. While books on colors are always welcome, and Wellington is usually a reliable source for curriculum support, this thin story doesn't live up to her other works. Stick with Ellen Stoll Walsh's Mouse Paint (Harcourt, 1989).-Amy Lilien-Harper, The Ferguson Library, Stamford, CTα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
An energetic introduction to primary colors—red, blue, and yellow—and what happens when they are mixed. Minimal line drawing places the emphasis on color, which is boldly shown on every page once Zena, accompanied by her puppy, races off a subdued page of black and white and shades of gray to find out where the colors have gone. Encountering yellow in a school bus, taxi, sun, and building design, she next sees red and combines them into orange. A blue experience of water and sky combines with yellow to create green. These combinations continue until the secondary colors are created, reflected both in the landscapes and friendly animals whose faces appear on pages of the book in surprising ways. Zena’s initial bland bedroom is replaced at the conclusion with an abundance of colors and animal friends everywhere. Added to this charming introduction are endnotes that explain the color wheel and provide suggestions for activities related to color. Preschool-Grade 1. --Edie Ching