Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Review: All the Colors of the Earth

by Shelia Hamanaka. Morrow Junior Books, 1994. This is a lovely little book that sings of the sweetness of all the children of the earth. Children who come in the
"roaring browns of bears and soaring eagles,
The whispering golds of late summer grasses,
And crackling russets of fallen leaves
the tinkling pinks of tiny seashells by the rumbling sea."

The illustrations show children joyfully dancing, playing and exploring their world with abandon. The faces are full of light and the bodies jubilant. The delicate colors wash across the pages with bright accents in just the right balance. See sample pages at Google books here.

There aren't many adults shown but a couple of pages show parents frolicking with their children or adoring them. The families are multi-ethnic and come in a range of skin colors. Hair textures are described as "bouncy baby lambs, flowing like water and curls like sleeping cats." I am enjoying reading this book over and over, just for the music and flavors thrown together.

There is just one thing that bothers me. The last page says "children come in all the colors of the earth and sky and sea." Somehow that struck me as jarring because children don't come in the colors of the sky and sea, unless they are green and purple and blue. I am trying to let that go and not be so literal about it, but I wish it ended on a chocolate, cinnamon and ginger note instead. In any case I think this is a book families with young children will enjoy reading together.

Read an article Hamanaka posted about Racism and Animal Rights here.


LiteracyTeacher said...

The first-ever picture book carnival is up on my blog, http://mentortexts.blogspot.com/2007/07/first-ever-picture-book-carnival.html. Thank you for participating! Please consider submitting a picture book for the next one I'm hosting on back-to-school books at: http://blogcarnival.com/bc/cprof_2189.html


Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Somehow that struck me as jarring because children don't come in the colors of the sky and sea, unless they are green and purple and blue.

Don't forget the merfolk babies and the extraterrestrials who've made Earth their home.:) It does sound as if the author got a little too caught up in the metaphor.

cloudscome said...

Alkelda that's funny! The first thing I thought of when I woke up this morning is that children do have green, blue and purple-ish eyes, so I guess that counts as sea and sky colors. I shouldn't be so picky.

Literacy teacher - thanks for letting us know about the carnival! It looks great and you did a fine job.

Cynthia Bostwick said...

I bought this for Ben last year, and last night was the first night he chose it to read. (Our ritual each night includes him choosing the books--he's just started branching out from "The Little Engine That Could", "Adopted by and Owl" and "Please Puppy Please.") It is a lovely book and he would point the the different kids and name a friend who looked like that particular kid (I was glad we had so many different shades.)

I had the exact same thought on the last page.

Thanks for making me feel in good company.