HEY! A Colorful Mystery by Kate Read

HEY! A Colorful Mystery by Kate Read. Peachtree, 2021. 9781682633274

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4

Format: Hardcover

Genre: Picture book 

What did you like about the book?  This is a simple cautionary tale that combines adventure, surprise, and also the basics of color theory. A pink fish hides in a cave and calls out to some friends. A rumor quickly spreads through the sea that there’s something giant in the sea and we watch creatures panic as the news is passed along. Everyone takes shelter in a cave, which turns out to be a big fish’s mouth! But Little Pink Fish gives a shout in her outsized voice, causing the big fish to cry “Eek!” and thus freeing all her friends. The text alternated between an unseen narrator, rendered in a serifed font, and the animals’ comments, which are enclosed in speech bubbles. Read uses collage and monoprint with digital enhancements to create her beautiful, large full-page bleeds of the multi-hued ocean floor. Her fish are cute and cartoonish and always include the color in their description: so, purple puffer fish, yellow eel, silver-grey sharks, and so on. A two-page spread at the end explains primary, secondary, and complementary colors and shows how an artist might add white or black hues to make colors darker or lighter. 

Anything you didn’t like about it? No

To whom would you recommend this book?  This would be a fun read aloud for predicting or calling out colors. It could also be a useful concept book for talking about rumors and miscommunication for very young listeners. It would be a good choice to pair with Leo Leoni’s classic Swimmy for a compare and contrast activity.

Who should buy this book? Preschools, elementary and public libraries.

Where would you shelve it? Picture books

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No

Reviewer: Susan Harari, Keefe Library, Boston Latin School, Boston, MA

Date of review: September 4, 2021

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