Black Meets White
Justine Fontes, , illus. by Geoff Waring. . Candlewick, $12.99 (24pp) ISBN 978-0-7636-1933-6
For the child who has ever wondered what happens when one color is mixed with another, this interactive tale demystifies that question by putting it in black and white—literally. Fontes personifies the hues, "colorfully" illustrating what transpires when they join in harmony. Her playful language enables the colors to embody feelings, actions and other animate qualities. " 'That tickles!' Black giggled," when polka dots tumble in; and, when a checkerboard emerges from the dots, " 'Oh, that's lovely!' White exclaimed." Black and White act much like precocious children as they frolic and play together. A cutout cloud and foldout stars add a tactile element, inviting little fingers to explore bold imagery that can appear somewhat abstract or larger than life. As the plot crescendos, readers will quickly turn the pages. And yet the story ends on a quiet note, the final poetic verses reading much like the colors' creation, Gray, which Waring paints as a contented feline ("soft as dawn/ gentle as a cloud/ cool as marble.../ lovely as a sleeping cat"). Readers can help close the cat's eyes by pulling on its tail and thereby wind down the story, making this tale a smart choice for bedtime. Ages 1-4.
Reviewed on: 07/18/2005