Colorful and Fun with a Great Message


What colors are zebras? Penguins and pandas? Cows and dalmatians? Yes, they are black and white ... but not quite. You see, the zebra likes pink polka dots and the dalmatian wears a red cape. From primary colors to pastel shades, kids learn colors.

Parent Perspective:
Adorable and fun. This is definitely a book I'd buy as a toddler gift. Kids will recognize some (but not all) animals. This is also true of the great color palette: purple and lavender; red, pink, and maroon; and green and aqua.

The book is a rhyming poem, not a story. It is likely to get monotonous for us to read with them (it will be requested a lot), but the kids are going to want to read it over and over because of the cute illustrations. This is a book I'd hand over to my child to let them "read" on their own.

Toddlers and preschoolers won't get the philosophy/abstract thinking behind the book's last sentence, but other elementary-aged children will. Don't miss the opportunity to talk about these other layers. This is much more than a book about colors for little kids.

Reader Enjoyment Factors:

Meet some of the world's black and white animals - zebras, penguins, pandas ... and then learn about some of their favorite colors. Toddlers through first-graders will enjoy this lilting rhyme and want to spend time looking at the illustrations of the adorably clad animals.

Content Awareness Factors:

None. You should also know that this is more poem than story.

Type of Book:
This is an imaginative picture book about animals and colors for younger children. It also introduces the abstract concept of "black and white thinking."
Educational Themes:

Introducing and learning colors is the primary theme in this story, but don't miss the opportunity to talk about some of the animals. While kids can instantly recognize pandas and penguins, meeting a llama may be a new experience.

Another way to engage kids with the literacy components is to let them finish the second part of each sentence. Calling out the word that rhymes is great practice for letter sounds.

With older kids, use the last sentence of the book to explore the concepts of nuance, "areas of gray," and similar abstract ideas. This is much more than a book *just* about colors.

Reading Level:
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
Recommended Age To Read Together:
3 to 8
Purchase Recommendation:
Buy. The story is fun, illustrations are cute, and the text is simple enough that with just a few read-alouds by mom or dad, preschoolers can "read" on their own.

Title Not Quite Black and White
Author Jonathan Ying
Publisher Harper, Imprint HarperCollins Publishers © 2016
Illustrators Victoria Ying
ISBN 9780062380661
Material Hard Cover
Cost $17.99
Genres Poetry
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