Every Color of Light – Perfect Picture Book Friday

Enchanted Lion publishes interesting and thought-provoking books, including books in translation.

The title declares that this will be a story about the sky and its varied shades/colors of light. But it feels like it’s about so much more: pausing, breathing, listening, taking the time to observe our glorious world.

The first image fills only a third of the page, but it bleeds across the gutter, as if it’s wicking through the paper like watercolor. The overall effect is one of looking through a window.

Text ©Hiroshi Osada Translation by David Boyd Illustration ©Ryōji Arai

And a simple line of text:

Look, it’s raining.

The feeling is one of being invited outdoors to experience the rain, the larger world and its elements.

At the page turn, the reader is now outside, in the rain, listening….

and then feeling the wetness as the storm intensifies, along with the shades of greens.

And then another page turn intensifies the storm even more, as the wind picks up.

Text ©Hiroshi Osada Translation by David Boyd Illustration ©Ryōji Arai

The wind whips, the rain slants.

Heavier and heavier, the rain gets louder now.

The storm intensifies again. Lightning changes the colors we see, the sounds we hear. And the reader is invited to look closely at the leaves, how colors run across them as they swirl in the wind. When the storm passes, we’re treated to a light-filled sky, and the waking colors of wildflowers and the deep greens of a freshly washed landscape.

And then a page-turn surprise. A close-up of a leaf and raindrops “sparkling like crystals.”

Text ©Hiroshi Osada Translation by David Boyd Illustration ©Ryōji Arai

Such a fabulous change in perspective, and a reminder that this is how a child experiences the world.

The story progresses through the waning light of the day, until the sky is full of stars that appear as a smattering of colors. AND tiny images of constellations that humans interpret as named shapes (teapot, frog, cat, turtle, horse, goat, ship, jellyfish [actually a nebula] and other non-constellation shapes—like an old-fashioned telephone and saxophone.

But there’s one more surprise, white bunnies frolicking in the dark under an enormous white moon…

that on the page turn….

become what looks like the center of a galaxy, as stars (perhaps the white bunnies?) swirl around its center in the larger dark universe.

This image also covers only a third of the page, creating a fitting bookend to the opening spread. The text below the image fades into the page like a child falling asleep. It’s interesting that the text of the images provided by the publisher don’t exactly match the printed version. The text on this page in my copy repeats the words “falling,” “soundly,” and “asleep” as they fade. And they are not capitalized. I prefer the repetition and the lack of capitalization in the print version. The effect is one of falling into the bright, light space of sleep. Gorgeous!

Text ©Hiroshi Osada Translation by David Boyd Illustration ©Ryōji Arai

The beginning end papers show clouds gathering in the daytime sky, and the closing end papers show a clear night sky. A lovely touch.

This quiet bedtime book could be used in two ways: 1) For a child who’s afraid of storms, the book gives them the opportunity to experience a storm and see how it changes the world in good ways, and 2) Read the book to pause and look closely at the world, think about how rain changes the light and colors, how it also brings its own sounds and textures, and changes the landscape and our experience of the world.

Whenever I start falling into the trap of following the U.S. market and its fairly restrictive boundaries of what a picture book can be, I open books in translation to expand my thinking. It’s like inhaling a breath of fresh air.

Activities:

Take the shapes from starry night sky illustration and make your own constellation structure that would create that shape. Use a book about constellations as a guide to see how stars give constellations their shape. It’s like connecting the dots.

Make your own painting of rain or a storm that shows a range of light and dark.

Pair this book with Watersong by Tim McCanna (focuses on the poetic sounds of rain)

Title: Every Color of Light

Author: Hiroshi Osada

Illustrator: Ryōji Arai

Translator: David Boyd

Publisher: Enchanted Lion, 2020

Themes: light, color, rain

Ages: Prek-2nd grade

For more perfect picture book recommendations, please visit Susanna Hill’s website.

15 thoughts on “Every Color of Light – Perfect Picture Book Friday

  1. gloriaamescua says:

    Your review and glimpses of text and images show the magic in this book! It is enthralling. I have to read it. Thank you.

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