I have a new nephew and his name’s Finlay. In Australia we like to emphasise the LAY. FinLAY. But that was just for the first three minutes. As is always the case in Australia, you’re assigned a nickname that’ll stick with you for the rest of your life. FinLAY became Finny. My four-year-old Alice decided to make Her Cousin Finny a card that contained all of her worldly wisdom. It said such things as…
“Baby’s go goo goo gaga and are always stinky pooing their pants.”
“The best food is quiche.”
“If you come to my house you can never EVER touch my jewellery.”
“It’s hard to click.”
“The best colour in the world is rainbow.”
It must be wonderful to be four and to view the world through a rainbow kaleidoscope – Alice’s Rainbow Vision. To get up in the morning and put on red shoes, yellow stripy tights, an aqua top and to top it all off with a purple unicorn horn. It’s breathtaking. So imagine Alice’s delight when ‘What’s Your Favourite Colour?’ by Eric Carle and Friends landed on my desk with a whopping great grinning rainbow splodge on the cover.
Walker has created something very special here. It’s curated a glorious celebration of colour, with words and art from 15 of the world’s beloved children’s illustrators. The end pages will feel familiar – Eric Carle’s classic rainbow stripes from Brown Bear Brown bear. Carle then opens the anthology with his favourite colour yellow, as the Sun beams out from the page. According to Eric, yellow is tricky to work with because it wants to “muddy” all of the other colours. Later, painter and illustrator William Low pays homage to brown – the colour of his old neighbourhood in the Bronx – as he recreates the streetscape, from the stately brownstones to the Number 6 train. We get 13 more incredible spreads just like these. Some have more words than others, but they all explode with colour. Soon, we were reading quicker and quicker in anticipation of the next colour reveal. Green? No blue? Ah of course… Australian Marc Martin’s utterly arresting Crimson Red. My favourite spread, as the graceful rosella’s flew me home to South East Queensland.
In addition to Aussie Marc, ‘What’s Your Favourite Colour’ includes contributions from a host of American and European illustrators, all of whom you can read about at the end of the book. But special mention must go to an illustrator a little closer to home – London’s Frann Preston-Gannon. Over at My Book Corner, we’re big fans of Frann’s work, which you can read about here. Incidentally Frann loves orange. Flaming “tiger burning bright” orange.
I don’t often get all gushy about a book, but it seems I have about this one. Sorry.
But if you’re looking to celebrate colour with the little ones, this is unquestionably the book for you. And if you’re looking for general advice from a four-year-old, then I’ll leave you with Alice’s final words to Her Cousin Finny: “Rainbow is my favourite colour and remember… there’s no such thing as monsters.”