The Children’s Book Review | March 11, 2015
Touch Think Learn: Colors
Touch Think Learn: Colors features simple, bold illustrations with a fun 3D format that begs to be touched by little hands. One page of each spread features a colorful raised standout shape with a color name, such as an apple, while the opposite page has the same shape scooped out with another color or pattern and the color name. The text is minimal with just the color name on each page, leaving plenty of room for parents or caregivers to expound on the story. And while the shapes are simple, there is a sense of whimsy in the embellishments such as pollen drifting from a flower or a caterpillar inside a green leaf that allows for alternate story lines beyond basic color definitions. The last spread features a paint palate of colors, offering a great chance to review the colors learned previous pages.
Well constructed and sturdy, this board book seems infinitely more durable than a lift-the-flap book while the raised and recessed pages still offer a level of interactivity. Although it is officially recommended for ages 3 and up, the textures and illustrations thoroughly enamored an almost 2-year-old. The first time reading it, he delighted in exploring each shape with not only his hands but also ran his bare feet over the ridges and valleys created by the various simple shapes. While there is a “Warning – Chocking Hazard – small parts. Not for children under 3 years.” notice on the back cover, there are no small pieces or parts in the book as-is (only if a child managed to pry the glued pieces off the pages).
Ages 0-4 | Publisher: Chronicle Books | July 23, 2013 | ISBN-13: 978-1452117263
Alice in Wonderland: A Babylit Colors Primer
Alice in Wonderland offers whimsical illustrations of key plot points and characters from the beloved classic by Lewis Carroll in a drastically simplified format. Tots are introduced to the white rabbit, Alice’s black shoes (as she falls down the rabbit hole), the purple bottle, orange Cheshire cat, blue caterpillar, the mad hatter’s brown hat, pink flamingos, the queen of red hearts, green frog, and yellow teapot with just two words on the left side of each spread: the color name and object. The illustration on the right offers more details for the reader if they would like to expand on story. The opening spread introduces “white rabbit” on the left-hand page while the opposite size touts a friendly rabbit wearing a scarf, jacket and shirt with the words “don’t be late” as drifting dandelion seeds subtly imply the passage of time. In short, there is ample creativity in the illustrations for the caregiver to build a more complex storyline if desired.
The colors and patterns are on trend and make for a color primer that appeals to adults as well as little learners and looks great on a nursery shelf. The square chunky board book is well made and has a silky laminate coating making delightful texture to hold for big and little hands alike (which also means sticky fingerprints can easily be wiped off).
This is an easy, tot friendly introduction to a literary classic without the potential scariness embodied by some Carroll interpretations. While die-hard English majors may get frustrated with the brevity of the story line, it functions beautifully as a unique color primer.
Ages 1-3 | Publisher: Gibbs Smith | 2012 | ISBN-13: 978-1423624776
For creative professionals, Pantone is widely regarded as the industry standard for consistent, accurate color. They are the pros! Pantone: Colors brings their expert knowledge down to a fun, approachable level for children by assigning names from their world to each pantone swatch. The chunky and durable board book opens with “yellow” on one page while the opposite side shows 20 variations on the shade, each with their own fun interesting name such as “giraffe yellow”, “banana yellow”, and “French fry yellow”. Caregivers familiar with the Pantone system will love that each shade is in a familiar Pantone square with the accompanying Pantone code in smaller type below the name assigned for the child.
The cover of the book itself is a beautiful color deboss that will tempt many childless adults based on it’s ascetic merit alone as well as appeal to children who do choose a book based on its cover.
The entire book features nine basic colors, but the 20 accompanying shades of each color introduce the concept that many tones of each color exists and help the child identify less common variations. With this format, the book can be quickly read with just the basic color name or explored in-depth by touching and reading each of the 20 color variants on each spread. Perhaps most fun at all is the closing spread, with its whimsical animal and object illustrations in a rainbow of colors, offering the chance to review each of the 9 colors featured in the previous pages.
Ages 2-4 | Publisher: Harry N. Abrams | 2012 | ISBN-13: 978-1419701801
By Herve Tullet
Both Tullet newbies and lovers of the wildly popular Press Here! will enjoy this follow up, Mix it Up! The action-oriented language speaks directly to the child, asking them questions such as “Are you ready?” and to complete tasks like “Tap that gray spot. Just a little, to see what happens.” And lo and behold, something DOES happen on the next page after each request! As implied by the title, much of the story line explores mixing colors as if they were paint to see the resulting color, which is super fun to supplement a child’s color knowledge as well as a non-messy stand in for when painting isn’t possible.
The illustrations are extremely simple—just short little paint splotches or lines on a white background, but the storyline makes those little bits of color seem quite alive. In our tech happy, interactive world it is utterly refreshing to see mere ink and paper engage a child so thoroughly. With just a few words or sentences per spread, this book is fantastic for the child who loves to turn pages in quick succession. Busy kiddos who love to point, slap, or otherwise interact with their books in a physical way will also delight in seeing results from actions.
While the cover of Mix it Up! is a stiff board, the pages themselves are not. The paper stock used is heavier than many paper books and coated, which will help it stand the test of time as the deceivingly simple and amazingly clever book gets read again, and again, and again!
Ages 3-5 | Publisher: Chronicle Books | Sept. 16, 2014 | ISBN-13: 978-1452137353
This list of “4 Gorgeous Color Books Perfect for Little Hands” was curated by Michelle Kidd Drechsel. Based in Denver, CO, Michelle Kidd Drechsel is sometimes a graphic designer and intermittent runner, climber, baker, biker, knitter, hiker and general adventurer, but always a mommy to two wild boys. Drechsel holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Adventures blogged at www.mountainkidd.com. Follow along with our Art Books category and articles and reviews tagged with Color Books to discover more great books just like these ones.