Author/Illustrator: Laura Vacarro Seeger
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Publication Date: 2012
Audience: 2-6 years
Summary: This is a book showing seventeen shades of green. That’s accurate but inadequate. Enter the world of green-a tree, a turtle, a lime, a pea, a firefly, a fern, a lizard. There is more. Die cut pages surprise and lead from one shade of green to the next. A section of lime becomes a spoon of pea soup; two of the peas become a tiger’s eyes. One double page includes all the shades of green in the book, inviting children to find matches. There is one page with a bright red stop sign, one page of a snow covered world for contrast. A young boy plants a seedling, a page with no words; the next page shows a large tree with adult and child beneath, “Forever green.”
Literary elements at work in the story: This is a concept book, one of several that have won Seeger Caldecott Honor awards. One color, many hues. The double pages give a sense of the vast world in which these greens are seen. The rhyming text makes the shades easy to remember. The intense colors and thickly painted pages are almost textured, inviting touch.
How does the perspective on gender/race/culture/economics/ability make a difference to the story? Not applicable.
Theological Conversation Partners: Look. See. Consider. Observe. These are some of the words used to translate Matthew 6: 26, 28 as Jesus invites us to learn from God’s world. We are so frequently blind, indifferent, too busy to “hear” what God is saying to us. One of the greatest gifts we can give to children or adults is to help them focus, to pay attention to the world around them. Green is the perfect guide for practicing this. The boy planting the seedling is a gentle reminder about our care for God’s world. The symbol of the good, the righteous life in the Bible is a tree. Ps. 1, Ps. 92:12-15. This could be mentioned in connection with the last two pages. God could have created a monotone world. Psalm 104:24 is an apt prayer of praise. Add “color” after the word “creatures.” For the adult: Chlorophyll, which gives plants their green color, is essential for photosynthesis, which is, in turn, essential for our lives. Plants change sunlight into energy and nutrients and release oxygen. Black is a more efficient color for photosynthesis but green does the job and colors our world. Miraculous!
Faith Talk Questions and actions.
- Examining a box of crayons with several shades of green can assure that children understand “shades” or “hues.”
- Examine crayons of different shades. Not all greens are alike. This can involve noticing clothes, hair ribbons, lunch boxes, etc.
- Count the shades of green in the book.
- Children will enjoy using the shapes as clues to the next page.
- Green sometimes helps animals hide. This is called camouflage. Find some animals that green helps to hide.
- Some greens are found in places other than plants. Find these.
- Go for a looking walk. Note where you see green.
- Pick leaves, plants, (if possible), other objects and make a green display. Compare shades of green.
- Plant a tree, a shrub, or a flower.
This review was written by Union Presbyterian Seminary graduate and regular contributor Virginia Thomas.
Green by Storypath is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.