It has been too long, my dears, since we dallied together for a haiku review and today I plan to rectify this woeful situation with a visually stunning picture book that has been the recipient of numerous awards and was kindly provided to us for review from Pan Macmillan Australia. I speak of Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger. Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:
How many kinds of green are there?
There’s the lush green of a forest on a late spring day, the fresh, juicy green of a just-cut lime, the incandescent green of a firefly, and the vivid aquamarine of a tropical sea. In her newest book, Caldecott and Geisel Honor Book author Laura Vaccaro Seeger fashions an homage to a single colour and, in doing so, creates a book that will delight and, quite possibly astonish you.
in a jade sea bottle bound
for emerald shores
“How engaging can a book about a single colour actually be?” I suspect you might be asking yourself. Well, I shall admit to asking myself the same question, which is exactly what prompted me to request this book. How much can be said on the topic of green-ness? Especially in picture book format! I was curious to find out what it is about this book that had prompted the bestowal of awards, that was for certain.
Green is not your average, colour-based picture book. For starters, it makes use of some very clever die-cut holes that lead the reader on to the next page. While die-cuts are always fun in and of themselves, the die-cuts in this particular book are impressively utilised. Some have words hidden in the illustrations. Others are so cleverly placed that they are almost invisible until one turns the page. I fell victim to this trickery multiple times until I decided that I would keep my eyes peeled to find those stealthy die-cuts before I turned the page…only to be foiled on more than one occasion! Test yourself out and see if you can spot them in the two images below.
The book also runs the gamut from what one would expect, such as this “faded green”:
…to some unexpected and cheeky interpretations, such as this one (my personal favourite!):
The last few pages follow a little mini-narrative which is full of hope and also might provide younger readers with the inspiration to pop outside and green up their own environment. After having flicked through this book multiple times, it is obvious why it has attracted such acclaim. The illustrations are gorgeous and textured and some clever twists on the green theme set this book apart from your typical colour-based book for little ones.
It helps, of course, that green is the favourite colour of more than one shelf-dweller!
This would be a wonderful choice for a classroom library; the kind of book that will be well-thumbed by the end of the year, from eager young readers repeatedly drinking in the visual delights of the artwork and boggling at the more-than-meets-the-eye symbolism of a single hue.
Cheerio my dears,