Colors for Zena

Overview

The magic of mixing colors, in a joyous story by a master colorist

Zena's world lacks color, so she sets out to find some. On her walk, she first finds one primary color, then another. But red, blue, and yellow aren't enough—Zena wants more colors! Out pops an orange lion, a green frog, and a purple dragon, a combination of the colors she has seen. Zena and her friends then do some color mixing themselves, creating more colors and a bright painting using them all. Vibrant ...

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Overview

The magic of mixing colors, in a joyous story by a master colorist

Zena's world lacks color, so she sets out to find some. On her walk, she first finds one primary color, then another. But red, blue, and yellow aren't enough—Zena wants more colors! Out pops an orange lion, a green frog, and a purple dragon, a combination of the colors she has seen. Zena and her friends then do some color mixing themselves, creating more colors and a bright painting using them all. Vibrant illustrations and simple text make Monica Wellington’s latest a perfect pick for budding young artists and for fans of classics such as The Color Kittens and Mouse Paint.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A roundheaded girl with a passion for color introduces primary and secondary hues in this cheerful picture book. Dressed in a polka-dotted outfit and hat, Zena and her dog race outside to seek colors, finding them (and some new friends) as they travel. After a pair of street scenes where Zena spots a yellow school bus and red fire truck, among other objects, she meets an orange lion, which is hanging out in front of the bookstore. “I am yellow and red mixed together,” he tells her. “Wonderful!” she replies. “Come with us.” A green frog and purple dinosaur later join the caravan, and the book closes with notes on the color wheel and color-themed projects for children. Ages 3–5. (July)
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1—Zena, a round-headed tot, wakes up in a room devoid of color, except for the polka dots on her bed, her face, and her shirt. Asking where the colors went, she heads through a black-and-white house to the outside. The first street is all yellow, the second, red. She states that she needs more colors, and the orange lion replies that he is yellow and red mixed. The next landscape is blue, then yellow again, so that the frog becomes green, and so on, until they enter a full-color room with pots of paint in primary colors. They paint a picture and go to bed in Zena's now Technicolor room to "dream of colors till morning." The story is followed by a color wheel and activity ideas. Wellington's trademark gouache childlike art is in evidence here. The frog, lion, and dragon that appear in the story are the toys on Zena's bed in the first scene. The basics of color and color mixing come through clearly, and Zena and her animals are appealing, but the story lacks cohesion and logic and is clearly a vehicle to explain color mixing to children. While books on colors are always welcome, and Wellington is usually a reliable source for curriculum support, this thin story doesn't live up to her other works. Stick with Ellen Stoll Walsh's Mouse Paint (Harcourt, 1989).—Amy Lilien-Harper, The Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT
Kirkus Reviews
This introduction to colors and color mixing is cheerful but antiseptic. "Where did all the colors go?" Zena wonders. Her house is white, black and extremely pale blue (though her face is beige and pink-cheeked). Zena and her dog step outdoors onto a street of yellows and grays; Zena's hat turns yellow. The next spread showcases red: The Little Red Art Store sits behind red vehicles, highlighted by white and gray (no yellow here). The following spread introduces secondaries: " ‘I am yellow and red mixed together,' roars the lion. / ‘I am ORANGE.' " Although the lion's orange color has slight value variations, only in the small area of his mane do yellow and red noticeably mix, and even there, that red is really already orange. As Zena continues through color scenes (her hat adapting like a chameleon), the color mixing consistently receives short visual shrift. Instead of showing how primaries mix to form secondaries, Wellington lets bland text explain the process (" ‘I am red and blue mixed together,' rumbles the dragon"), with only the barest visual hints as to how this occurs. For visually clearer color mixing, see Mike Austin's zippy Monsters Love Colors (2013); for more heart, see Leo Lionni's classic Little Blue and Little Yellow (1959). Chipper and cartoony, but not fertile enough to tempt children to actually try mixing colors themselves. (color definitions, recommended activities) (Picture book. 2-5)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803737433
  • Publisher: Dial
  • Publication date: 7/11/2013
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 987,399
  • Age range: 3 - 5 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.70 (w) x 11.50 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Monica Wellington was born in London and lived in Switzerland and Germany as a child. She now lives in New York City, where she teaches at the School of Visual Arts.

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