McMillan, Bruce. 1988. Growing colors.
New York: Lothrop, Lee, and Shepard Books. ISBN: 0688078451.
The title of this simple yet captivating concept book states the main
idea woven throughout the book. This text is filled with wonderful
photos that show all the colors that can grow in a vegetable garden.
Using a repetitive and predictable layout, McMillan allows the youngest
child to participate in "reading" this photo essay. Each double page
spread uses the exact same format. The left page states the color, and
the large font is printed in the color being portrayed. This word is
printed on the bottom right of the page, and the upper left of this
page shows a picture of an entire vegetable plant from a distance, such
as a row of corn. The right page shows a close-up of the vegetable.
Pages 30-31 show thumbnail photos of all the veggies used in the book
the color and name of the vegetable written to either side. The final
page of the book contains a photograph of four peppers of different
colors, and a three paragraph note from the author that discusses the
ideas behind the book, his purpose for writing, and details about the
process of photographing the vegetables. No further access features are
The clear standout feature of this book is the excellent photography.
Never before have plain old raw vegetables looked so delicious and
artistic at the same time. Each vegetable looks as if it is at the
perfect ripeness for picking and has just been washed clean by a cool
spring shower. The size of the pictures further enhances their
usefulness by allowing the reader to examine every aspect of the
vegetable in the photo. Jobe commented on this in his review by
stating, "The intensity and vibrance of color is breathtaking. This is
a spotless book -- even the onions and potatoes pulled directly from
the dirt are ultra-clean. Exceptional clarity and artistic composition
of the dew-tpped photographs makes each suitable for framing."
I read this with my 2-year-old, and he was truly captivated by the
photos. He enjoyed being able to name the colors that he knows, and was
inquisitive about the ones that he didn't recognize. He is just
starting to recognize and differentiate between colors, so this was a
real success at naptime today. His favorite picture was the photo on
the last page that shows the four different colored peppers side by
side. He seemed interested that they were all peppers, but they were
Jobe, Ronald. 1988. Book review. School
Library Journal 35(1). In
EBSCOHost (database online). Available
from http://search.epnet.com/login.asp. Accessed 19 April 2005.