Pantone Colors by Pantone and Abrams Appleseed with illustrations by Helen Dardik

This IS the only color book your child will ever need. Period. As an art school drop out I have great respect for Pantone,  a company that is known for "identifying, matching and communicating colors to solve the problems associated with producing accurate color matching in the graphic arts community." This resulted in the PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM, a book of standardized color in fan format that is as essential for artists as a dictionary is for writers. Pantone is also known for celebrating a "Color of the Year" that  pops up in fashion, home decor and other areas of our daily lives. 2012 color is Tangerine Tango. I am so excited to see that, along with AbramsApleseed, a publisher known for attention to detail, design and the creation of beautiful books, they have Pantone Colors, a board book that goes beyond your average teaching tool.

Pantone Colors is one of the first books from Abrams's new AbramsAppleseed imprint which is dedicated to instilling a love of books in babies, toddlers and preschoolers by publishing books that will "foster the development of its young readers and engage them and their adults in artful, beautifully conceived books. Each book serves to expand on what the child already knows and transform his or her perception of the world." Without a doubt, Pantone Colors achieves these goals. I cannot stop looking at this book! Everything about it is gorgeous, from the multicolored cover with an embossed title, to the thick board pages to the playful illustrations and fantastic color names that make up each page of the book. There are nine featured colors, each one with twenty variants on the left hand side of the page. While it is amazing to realize that there are that many (and more, no doubt) various shades of any one color, what I especially love - what melds my passion for words with the delight I take in art - are the names of the twenty variants.

Reading these will surely delight any adult and intrigue any listener and maybe even inspire a color naming contest of your own! From "French Fry Yellow" to "Basketball Orange," "Velvet Red" and "Worm Pink," your imagination will explode with the possibilities. There are "Kazoo Purple" and "Apron Blue," "Broccoli Green" and "Meatball Brown" and "Grandma Grey," to name a few more. The book ends with a wonderful two page spread of objects, animals and foods that represent (almost) all of the colors in the book. Helen Dardik's illustrations are playful, crisp and immediately recognizable and will appeal to any little reader who has already (as all babies do) developed a taste for the colorful books of Eric Carle and his hungry caterpillar. That said, I would not hesitate to give Pantone Colors to an older, reading child with an artistic bent. While Pantone Colors will teach important concepts to infants and toddlers, Pantone Colors is sure to intrigue and inspire older readers to create something of their own.

If you want to impress your friends, bring Pantone Colors to the next baby shower you are invited to. I guarantee you it will get passed around and read out loud and there might not even be a child in the room! And, for the super cool artistic baby gift, you can add Paul Thurlby's Alphabet.

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