by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

Laura Vaccaro Seeger's Green

Book review by Steve Barancik

Ages 2-6

Shades of Green

Some picture books can engage the mind with more than just words.

Green, by Laura Vaccaro Seeger, is just that kind of picture book. And with less than 30 words, it had better be!

Many of my favorite picture books are the kind where the child sitting on your lap grabs the page and pages backwards. Paging backwards means growing minds are engaged! That's what Seeger makes happen, with her ingenious die-cut illustrations. Kids (and parents) want to know, "How'd she do that?"

Each two page spread features a Seeger painting exploring a different shade of green - forest green, lime green, fern green, and more. And each spread includes two of those brilliant die-cuts, where the colors and images from the previous page turn and the page turn to come are incorporated into the painting you're right now looking at.

from Laura Vaccaro Seeger's 'Green'

See? The luna moth is just a hole in the page. It takes its color and texture from the next painting!

Jungle Green

Sometimes the die-cuts just blend in, sometimes they take a stunningly different color from their source. Twice Seeger even manages to highlight words, which, on their source page, appeared to be nothing more than blades of grass or Jackson Pollack-esque splashes.

Vaccaro Seeger won a Caldecott Honor for this book (as she also did for First the Egg, another die-cut classic.) In Green, she opens minds to the fact that the color green has more than one shade...and more than one context. And that there's more than one way to place an image on a page.

More Caldecott reviews.

Read more of Steve's book reviews.

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