Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Colorama: From Fuchsia to Midnight Blue

Colorama: From Fuchsia to Midnight Blue

Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 10 and up
Prestel Junior, 2018   ISBN: 978-3791373287

Many of us acknowledge that pieces of music can evoke an emotion in us. They can be tied to memories of places, people, and a time. They can transport us from the place where we are, to another place that may not even exist anymore. The interesting thing is that colors can do the same thing. When we see a bright red hat on someone’s head we find ourselves remembering the day when we walked through a field of poppies. When we see the soft cream on top of a coffee we think of the soft fur of our cat, who is fast asleep in a window at home. A palette of colors can therefore become a palette of stories, and for each person those stories are unique.

In this gorgeous book the author illustrator explores one hundred and thirty-three colors in a delightful way. Each color has a whole page dedicated to it. There is nothing on the page but the color, in all its glory. On the facing page the author presents us with the name of the color, an illustration that showcases the color, and a section of text that describes the color in an evocative way.

The creator of this book begins with whites and creams which then shift into pinks. The first true pink – if one can even use the word true when describing a color – is Marshmallow. We see the delicate pink color, and we also see an elegant illustration that shows a pile of marshmallows and a spray of pink flowers. In the text we learn that the sweet confections get their name from a flower of the same name. The Marshmallow flower contains a substance that “has an aromatic and succulent taste.”

Further on, more and more red tones creep into the palette and we encounter Cannonball Red. In the text we learn that in the old days soldiers used to heat cannonballs until they were red hot. These weapons would not only put holes in the enemy’s buildings; they also burned them down. The expression “to see red,” meaning to get very angry, has its roots in this practice. Angry soldiers used red hot cannonballs to cause as much damage as possible.

Reds shift into the oranges of Saffron and Carrot, through Beige and Ochre and on to the yellows. Here we encounter a bright Sunflower yellow and then a gentler and softer Canary Yellow. Add a touch of blue and yellow becomes green, and the first of these is Glowworm. This is the color that you see when a glowworm lights up on a summer night. The soft pale green of the insect’s abdomen is created when living organisms in the glowworm’s body create bioluminescence.

This is the kind of book that readers can dip into, or read from cover to cover. The colors are stunning, the illustrations are delightful, and the carefully researched text is packed with fascinating facts, stories, and anecdotes. Readers of all ages will be thrilled to discover colors in a new way as they explore this book.