August 21, 2016


Have you seen The Color Monster yet?? It's one of those books you want to open from the moment you see the cover. Anna Llenas's pop-up book about feelings is so sweet and lovely. As we open the book, a little girl introduces her friend, the color monster, who is feeling all mixed up. The color monster is drawn in colors from the entire spectrum of the rainbow, and the girl offers to help the monster separate each out into individual bottles.

The architecture of the book feels so clean and simple, yet there is a fair amount of engineering that goes into each page flip. Because of the collage style illustrations, even the parts of the pages that don't have a pop-up element feel like they're jumping off the page. The layering gives us not only a feel for texture, but also a deeper sense of space. And Llenas goes out of her way to incorporate each part of the pop-up into the image itself: strings becomes rain from a cloud or the strings of a hammock.

Because of the intensity and density of the illustrations, Llenas cleverly uses the white space of each spread to keep things feeling clean amidst the chaos. As we go through the colors, we get to see Llenas' playfulness with her medium: she makes flowers and water, never shying away from a challenging texture, and the pop-ups themselves feel unique and organic to each of the monster's different emotions.

I come across beautiful pop-up books so rarely that I can't wait to put this one on the bookshelf!

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