Review (Plus): Not Quite Black and White

Bookshelf Blurb: Colors explode among the black and white, and the rhyming found throughout makes it outta sight!

NotQuiteBlackAndWhite_9780062380661_d6d08America’s Review: Primary colors are usually the focal point in children’s books, but Jonathan Ying and Victoria Ying take their readers on an adventure beyond primary colors to a range in colors not often taught: lavender and maroon. The colors are illustrated through animals doing the mundane to being dancing divas, which is a wonderful way to pull in prior knowledge of readers to help them learn one new trait instead of multiple ones. The animals are in black and white, and the new color appears on objects that the animal is either wearing or using to do a motion.

I tested this book as a read-aloud, which worked really well. A rhyme on each set of pages provides a cadence to the words and a sing-song quality to the book. My voice was going up and down without even trying to change my voice or be silly, which I really liked. It allowed my audience to be more engaged with my words and learn the colors with the silly animals who were Not Quite Black and White.

In the Classroom:  Since the authors have used the normal colors along with some outside the norm, this is a perfect opportunity for first graders–who have already grasped the colors–focus on the spelling of the words and grouping them into categories.

Read the story to your students. Have the students identify which colors are in the book. You could do this one of two ways: You could have your students spell the color words as you read or you could have the words already on a worksheet. Once you complete the story,  have your students cut the words into subcategories. Divide them into the family of the color to which they belong. They can focus on the categories and also on learning to spell more words. (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.1.5.A)

Purple = lavender
Maroon = Red


Not Quite Black and White by Jonathan Ying, illustrated by Victoria Ying (HarperCollins | 9780062380661 | September 6, 2016)

Beth Golay

Beth is a reader, writer, marketer and Books & Whatnot founder. Even though she knows better, she's a sucker for a good book cover and will positively swoon if a book is set in appropriate type. @BethGolay