Aaron Zevy presents a child’s book of colors, seen through a variety of brightly hued radios from the 1930s, ’40s, and ’50s, in his children’s picture book Retro Radio Rainbow.
Zevy is a collector of classic radios and an author of many books for adults, as well as several for children. Meant as a child’s introduction to colors, this book also serves as a showcase for those distinctive radios.
Based on the pattern of the rainbow, the book shows a radio in a particular color (“This radio is red”). After two examples of radios of a certain color, the text asks the reader to identify that color (“Can you find the red radio?”) in a group of four radios. This simple formula works well, resulting in a book that serves as a functional item—an effective guide to colors—and also an attractive feast for the eyes, combining two purposes much like the sleek radios it displays. The radios shown are truly works of art, and the excellent photographs capture their retro-style beauty.
Zevy’s introduction briefly describes how radios in the 1940s and ’50s were as common as computers in our day and notes that they had an array of designs and colors to stand out in the crowd. While this seems aimed at adults, rather than the toddlers who are most likely the book’s target audience, it provides a charming beginning for those reading to their children. Unfortunately, Zevy neglects to explain the purpose of radios in simple language for children who have likely never seen one.
Thankfully, the book mostly keeps its focus on its stated mission, even offering prime examples of the color indigo, that sometimes hard-to-pinpoint stop on the spectrum between blue and violet. The language is simple and direct, and the book design is bright and fun.
Retro Radio Rainbow is a delightful book that educates young children about the colors of the rainbow in an understandable and unique way.
Also available as an ebook.