This Book Is Gray

Amazon/Two Lions. Dec. 2019. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781542043403.
K-Gr 2–Gray is miffed about the fact that primary and secondary colors get all of the attention. Feeling left out and tired of being typecast as a dull, gloomy, sad sack, he decides to create the “GRAYtest book ever.” Gray spins a tale about a hippo, wolf, and kitten who live in a house by the sea, all presented in a completely muted palette. In metafictional fashion, a rainbow of colors barge into his story and offer their editorial opinions. Looking like triangular wedges from a color wheel, all of the hues in Ward’s digital illustrations have distinct personalities and signature accessories: peppy, ponytailed Yellow has sunglasses perched on her head; Red wears a pom-pom hat and a sardonic expression; and Blue is a laid-back dude with a backwards ball cap. Dialogue bubbles capture the pun-filled, quick-witted banter that ricochets all across the pages as Gray tries to maintain control (“Just because I’m not a primary or secondary doesn’t mean I’m not a color! Achromatics have feelings, too, ya know”), while his bolder pals throw shade (“What muted his hue?”). After an emotional plea for acceptance, the others finally see Gray’s true colors, and they come up with a way to let him take center stage.
VERDICT A colorful primer on relationships and how to complement one another.

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