The Queen of Colors

Jutta Bauer, trans. from the German by David Henry Wilson. North-South (Ingram, dist.), $14.95 (66p) ISBN 978-0-7358-4166-6
Hans Christian Andersen Medalist Bauer’s witty meditation on color—first made as an animated short—stars Queen Matilda, a bossy, full-figured monarch prone to wild fits of emotion. She commands colors to appear (“Blue!” she yells); they’re represented as fields of crayon scribbling, so clearly reproduced that they almost seem to have been applied to each copy by hand. The contrast between the crayoning and the bold, expressive black ink lines used for the queen creates pleasing tension as Matilda plays with Blue, then summons Red, who makes her feel “wild and dangerous.” Violent, horse-shaped red scribbles carry Matilda on a wild ride; several overturned sheep and a broken clock tower trace Red’s path of destruction. Yellow proves even more contentious, and the colors, now at odds with each other, turn to gray. Only the queen can restore order. Bauer does a remarkable job of imagining conflict and resolution with three crayons and a pen, concluding with pure joy as the queen dances with floods and showers of crayoned hues. Though the confines of the story are cozy, the range of emotion is epic. Ages 4–8. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/17/2014
Release date: 04/01/2014
Genre: Children's
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