This Book Is Gray (Lindsay Ward)

Hello, friends! We’re back! The Baby Bookworm has moved houses, and we’re all set up in our new reading corner (though Mr. Dinosaur is still in a box somewhere, so he is still on hiatus). Our book today is This Book Is Gray by Lindsay Ward, a tale of individuality.

As the primary and secondary colors work together to build a colorful rainbow, Gray watches with envy. There’s no gray in the rainbow, after all, and he’s feeling left out. So Gray decides to make his own book, one with nothing but gray: a gray house on a foggy, overcast beach, and starring a cast of a wolf, a kitten, and a hippo. But just as he’s getting started, the primary colors burst in, followed closely by the secondaries, and begin picking apart Gray’s work. They declare the illustrations dismal, dark, and gloomy, and question whether the story will be a dark or sad one because of its look. Gray defends his work, but the others just keep talking over him. At last, his patience is lost; he yells at his friends, expressing his frustration and feelings of exclusion. The other colors, even fellow achromatics White and Black, are stunned, and decide to make Gray see that he is valued just as he is.

I liked the premise of this book a lot; any book that explores the values of different talents or aptitudes sends an important message to little readers. However, this left me with mixed feelings about the ending. Eventually, all the colors chip in on Gray’s book, “enhancing” his “GRAYtest book ever” with their own hues. But wait… wasn’t the point that Gray wanted a book that showcased gray all on its own? Without needing bright colors to have a happy or positive story? By adding the other colors to the mix, the lesson gets muddled; while the message about teamwork is admirable, it doesn’t mesh well with the earlier themes of individuality, and I was disappointed that Gray wasn’t allowed to be celebrated on his own merits. Still, JJ enjoyed the illustrations and the conversational text, especially each color’s distinct voice, and the length was fine. Rough around the edges, yet visually fun and worth a read. Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by a representative of the author in exchange for an honest review.)

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