cover image Black on White

Black on White

Tana Hoban. Greenwillow Books, $6.99 (12pp) ISBN 978-0-688-11918-8

Guided by the same precepts as those inspiring Dick Witt's Let's Look at Animals and Let's Look at My World (see review above), Hoban creates two stylish board books using only black and white. One volume drops out clearly recognizable shapes from black ground (a sailboat, a bird, a flower and so forth appear in white); the other sets black objects against white ground. The black in both books is shiny enough to reflect images on facing pages. White on Black may be more dramatic, but Black on White is more varied, alternating solid shapes (leaf, fork and spoon) with patterned or stencil-like images (butterfly, spectacles). Hoban's compositions are so supple and her layouts so well balanced that she casts a kind of spell; it's as if the color and black-and-white segments of the Wizard of Oz were reversed, with the ordinary seeming somehow magical. Ages 6 mos.-up. (May)