Picture book of the day: a playful poetic journey through rainbow colors in Vivid

Vivid: Poems & Notes About Color, illustrated and written by Julie Paschkis, published by Godwin Books (an imprint of Henry Holt and Company), ISBN: 978-1250122292, ARC Reviewed, to be released: July 31, 2018.

Oh what a fun mix of poetry, science, and artistic inventiveness this is! Julie Paschkis creates a book about colors that beats to the sound of its own drummer, feeling incredibly unique. There have been many books about this topic, but this one feels alive and fresh, pleasing the eye with Paschkis’ gouache on paper illustrations, and pleasantly tickling the ear with her quick evocative poems. Each double page spread celebrates a different color in ways that live up to the book’s title. And meanwhile, in a great bonus touch, Paschkis throws in some quick facts about each color being depicted. The Yellow page talks of “rowdy” daffodils and wow, she manages to make the flowers seem like the rowdiest plants ever. Birds and butterflies frolic under a bright, stylized sun. This spread is classic Paschkis. The yellows burst off the page. A flip of the page and we see the Orange page with monkeys juggling oranges and a quick fact revealing facts about the word “orange.” Then we are treated to the Red page with its modern art shapes and caped cat holding paintbrushes just dipped in red paint. The poem has the cat, named Patrice, asking an overall-wearing dog named Fred “What color paint would you like tonight?.” Patrice lists a bunch of names for red shades, to which Fred succinctly answers, “Red.” I love how a red square fills Fred’s speech bubble. And on the book goes from spread to spread, offering a poem, a fun drawing, and facts about the color. It all results in a climactic rainbow poem that feels, quite literally, like a tasty feast of words and imagery (it’s a rainbow picnic with colorful words about colorful foods).  Paschkis ends with a lovely author’s note with even more facts about colors. What really impresses me with this book is her obvious love and excitement for her topic. This book radiates a joy that is truly enjoyable and captivating.

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