What Is Color?: The Global, Brain-Exploding Story of Pigments, Paint, and the Wondrous World of Art

Roaring Brook. Aug. 2024. 160p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781250833419.
Gr 3 Up–Science, art, and history come together in this study of color. From the very start, readers are engaged in the exploration: “I am an artist (I bet you are too!).” Weinberg’s dog Waldo serves as a guide throughout, on everything from light waves that exist in on the electromagnetic spectrum to the many ways pigments have been created over thousands of years. Humor distinguishes this book from others on the topic, with just the right amount of gross references to charm older elementary and middle school students. Bugs, cow pee, and sea snails are revealed to be the ingredients of certain pigments while substances like radium and arsenic, which produce a glorious shade of green, have been proven deadly. Each section focuses on a single color with extra fun facts included in text boxes and speech bubbles, enhanced by bright, hilarious illustrations. Tribute is paid to many famous artists and respect given for the LGBTQIA+ community for the evolution of the rainbow flag and symbolic pink triangle. Extensively researched and documented, this book spans the globe and many centuries yet conveys information simply and clearly, making it accessible across a wide range of grades. It’s guaranteed to provide pleasure on the first read and for dipping into again and again.
VERDICT This imaginative combination of art and text is a must-purchase for school and public libraries.

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