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Red, Green, Blue: a First Book of Colors Hardcover – May 13, 2010
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From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 2—Colors, nursery rhymes, and seek-and-find fun are rolled into this companion to Jay's ABC: A Child's First Alphabet Book (2003) and 123: A Child's First Counting Book (2007, both Dutton). The story begins on a dismally gray, rainy day with a small boy sitting in a window seat with his watercolor paint set. The child and his brown-and-white spotted dog become astonished bystanders in the midst of a series of favorite childhood stories. The boy observes the farmer's wife chasing three rodents with dark glasses and white canes. In the background, readers can spot a haystack with a child in blue leaning against it, which leads into the next rhyme, about Little Boy Blue. The illustration includes a blind mouse disappearing around the haystack, while a yellow teapot in a window foreshadows the next rhyme. Views across the hilly countryside and through windows, and pictures on walls and a clock all hint at what rhyme or song is coming. Fourteen colors, including turquoise, silver, and gold, and an equal number of nursery rhymes or songs are highlighted, while others are visible to observant readers. The delightful, intricate artwork has a crackled finish, creating the appearance of an old fresco. As the boy awakens to a rainbow shining in his eyes, nursery-rhyme characters are seen greeting each other outside his window. A wonderful and welcome addition to concept books.—Maryann H. Owen, Racine Public Library, WI
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Colors are only part of the story in this lively, handsome picture book that dramatizes 20 nursery rhymes with wild magic realism. Young children will enjoy spotting characters and scenarios from the rhymes that they know, from five pink piggies and Little Bo Peep's white sheep to a little teapot, short and stout. Not all the featured nursery rhymes are sweet and merry. Miss Muffet is afraid of the big black spider for good reason; “even though he only wanted to sit beside her,” the picture shows that he is huge and scary. Something “not very nice” is happening to the three bespectacled blind mice, who leap across the double-page spread, away from a knife-wielding woman. Humpty Dumpty offers a sunnier view: it looks as though the king's horses and men may be able to help. We often focus more on nursery rhymes' rhythm and beat than on the sense in the words, and even older readers will have fun with these wry, literal looks at familiar rhymes and the stories they tell. Preschool-Grade 3. --Hazel Rochman
Top customer reviews
I love Jay's illustrations so much that I've bought most of her books - and never tire of looking at the pictures, which is saying something when you read a book 100 times over in a month's time! My only qualm is that there are never people of color in her books. Not one. I'm not sure what version of England she's living in, but it's surely a cloistered one, because London is one of the most diverse cities in the world. The more I read her books, the more this bothers me. But as long as your library is diverse, your child should be unaffected.
The nursery rhymes themselves are not repeated in the text, however the pictures serve to tell the story quite well. The author does a great job of integrating the color words into little snippets of rhyme such as "The Owl and The Pussycat set to sea... in a beautiful boat as green as a pea".
So, not a primary choice if all your'e looking for is to learn colors, but a great choice for it's charming illustrations and effective rhymes. A good way to reinforce nursery rhyme basics.