November 25, 2015

Snap! Hzel Hutchins, Dušan Petričić , ill. 2015. 32 pages. Annick Press. [Source: ARC provided courtesy of NetGalley.]

This is the kind of book you give a kid when they get that first coveted 64-pack of crayons. This is the kind of book I wish I’d had when I was little, lamenting that first chipped crayon tip. This is the kind of book you enjoy sitting down to read right before the promise of a few blank sheets of paper for your 7 year old.

I found this book to be filled with excitement – who’d think that coloring with crayons is all that exciting, right? But somehow Evan’s adventures are fun and exploratory. As he tries to work around his broken and missing crayons, he actually learns about the nature of color (ROY G BIV, anyone?) and how basic shades blend together to create a robust palette of color. This would be appropriate for any age from baby through early elementary school.

I let my 7 year old read this by herself, and and while she’s not new to crayons and is more into markers and colored pencils, she found this book to be a very enjoyable read. In discussing it, she said that she “liked that he actually learned how to mix the colors to make a new one.” The author’s ability to make this book educational was subtle yet engaging.

Not surprisingly, the illustrations really steal the show. They start off as simple sketches with a splash of color on Evan as the focus. But then the book becomes a burst of color through vibrant drawings. It’s almost frenetic, the way Evan covers the pages of the book with scribbles, traces, and other childlike pictures.

I found myself reading this with a smile on my face, and for that alone I’d recommend it. But it’s a really solid, interesting, and educational book rolled into an eye-catching package. If you don’t have this on your shelf, you’re missing out!

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