In this short, rhyming picture book, the colors corresponding to various seasons are detailed in a quick and straightforward manner.
Instead of bringing readers characters or a plot to follow, The Color Cycle describes the world through the colors typically ascribed to the four seasons. In this book, “red is for roses that please all our noses” and “orange is a word for which there is no rhyme, but we see it on the trees in the fall sometimes.”
As seen in those lines, the stated relation between colors and nature are mostly commonplace: blue is associated with flowers, the sky, and oceans, while yellow is associated with the summer sun and white with winter snow. Orange is connected with the change of seasons each fall. More fresh and surprising observations would allow deeper engagement for readers.
Additionally, the rhyme and meter of the poem vary throughout the text, making it difficult to enter into the flow of the narrative. For example, the following two lines offer different cadences: “There the seas are as green as the grass and the trees,”/ There red is for roses that please all our noses.” (The word “There” is also puzzling, as the author offers no earlier clue as to what “there” refers to.)
The book’s illustrations are the work of the author’s young daughter. While her youth makes her art heartfelt and sincere, it is unpolished and mirrors the clichéd nature of the author’s text, showcasing, for example, green trees in the summer and snowmen in the winter. While this approach fits the prose, it doesn’t elevate it or present new possibilities or connections.
Although The Color Cycle might help introduce some very young readers to memory devices that remind them of color names, the story requires more imagination and polish in order to shine. Readers will likely wish for more captivating imagery and sparkling, perspective-shifting prose.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.