Pomelo Explores Color by Ramona Bădescu, illustrated by Benjamin Chaud

In August of 2011 Enchanted Lion Books published Pomelo Begins to Grow written by Ramona Bădescu and illustrated by Benjamin Chaud, to great reviews. Writing for the New York Times Book Review, Bruce Handy said that Pomelo Begins to Grow is "funny, smart and idiosyncratic, graceful and intuitive in a way that feels as much dreamed as written." Pomelo is a tiny, pink garden elephant who realizes he is bigger than an ant. This discovery sets of a chain of philosophical questions and and quest for experience, all delightfully, lushly illustrated with great imagination by Chaud. Pomelo is such an endearing elephant, and his creators, Bădescu and Chaud are so creative and clever with him, that, while you may think you do not need another book about colors for you child, Pomelo Explores Color will change your mind. And, to make this book completely, irresistibly charming, the trim size is a small, chunky little square, perfect for slipping into pockets and backpacks.

Really, Pomelo Explores Color is more of a poetic mediation than the teaching book you might expect it to be. Because of this, it is also a perfect read-out that will no doubt inspire conversation and creativity. The book begins, "When everything begins to seem black and white, Pomelo looks around and suddenly rediscovers... The silent white of the blank page... The infinite white of winter... The foamy white of hot milk... The comforting white of his favorite dandelion...."

Bădescue continues through the spectrum in this meaningful, meandering way, making some wonderful connections, all of which are brought to life by Chaud's sometimes kooky vision and the little pink garden elephant. From the "always different yellow of wee-wee" and the "mustard-yellow pang that goes up your nose" to the "speeding orange of shredded carrots," the "promising red of ripening strawberries" and "mysterious blue of dreams," Pomelo takes us down a varied path. 
 My favorite chain of colors descriptors comes near the end of the book with grey. Bădescu makes her way from the "green-grey of rot," which is accompanied by an illustration of half a lemon that is being taken over by the dusty grey-green-white powdery mold to the "deflating grey of disappointment," by way of the "silver-grey of pencil sketches," past the "grey of things you can't quite remember" to the "happy grey of rain," as seen above.

More Pomelo books that might someday make 
their way across the Atlantic in translation:

Source: Review Copy

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