First turned into a picture book in 1978, Kumin’s tale is an identity story in which the protagonist is a dog who’s worried about his looks. “He was either all white with a great many black spots or all black with even more white ones. . . . He didn’t know which.” Friend’s playful gouache illustrations capture both the sweetness and the anxiety of Caesar as he sets out from his comfortable home in search of answers. He gets his favorite one from a carnival guru who loves lollipops: “On the surface you are the color you are . . . deep down in your heart. . . . You are whatever color you want to be.” This is a longer-than-usual picture book with more than the usual amount of text, but Kumin’s engaging story and its many whimsical details (the dog’s doctor is a black-and-white woodpecker, for instance) will keep young readers’ attention as Caesar realizes that he is actually all seven colors of the rainbow. Preschool-Kindergarten. --Abby Nolan
About the Author
Maxine Kumin is a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet who has served as both the Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress (a post later renamed the Poet Laureate of the United States) and the Poet Laureate of New Hampshire. In addition to her numerous books of poetry, she has also written novels, essays, and beloved children’s books. She lives in Warner, New Hampshire.
Alison Friend creates sweet and funny watercolors of animals that have been featured on greeting and holiday cards. This is her first picture book. She lives in South Yorkshire, England.