4 out of 4 stars
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How do you paint in your favorite color if you don't have it with you, and don't want to ask for it by name? This was Amber's dilemma after she forgot her watercolors at home. And this, on a day, the teacher asked them to paint using their favorite colors. The catch was, one's favorite color had to be kept secret until they unveiled their masterpieces. Amber had almost reached her wits' end on what to do when she bumped smack into the solution! Can you guess what it was?
What's Your Favorite Color? by Amber Lassiter is a fun yet refreshing teaching tool, that will reel children in, especially those in the 3rd/4th grade age-group. Not only does the problem at hand need creative approaches in surmounting it, but the narration is also enriched with expressions, idioms, metaphors, and other enticing descriptions that keep the reader engaged.
That the author is a long-standing educator permeates through the story with frequent testing of the reader's comprehension. Questions on what the reader makes of particular figure of speech and why he/she thinks so about them, peppers the whole narration. Though younger and even older children would no doubt enjoy the book, those in the target age group stand to benefit most from it. This is because they are transitioning from learning to read, to comprehension and independent reading. Expressive narrations and flowery descriptions make quite an impression. Furthermore, even colors at this stage start including more shades beyond the primary colors the children learned earlier. Check out this sample from the opening page of the 32-page book:
"The windows were draped with long sheer curtains in sunny yellow, cotton candy pink and ocean blue. The glistening sun beamed through the curtains, reflecting the colors across the ceiling like a sparkling disco ball. The cheery colors made Amber feel warm, as if somebody was giving her a bear hug."
A competent teacher customarily assigns homework, to the chagrin of learners. Lassiter doesn't disappoint in this regard as well. She manages to cleverly sneak in between the narration, fun assignments - some of which come with hints. I guess it is the academic equivalent of hiding vegetables in delicious pies! This way, children eagerly learn through figuring out.
Lessons are both bold and subtle. For example, Amber Lassiter uses each of her two names for two different characters in the story. She also makes the leading character, Amber, and the teacher, people of color. These point to purposeful empowering of children to be comfortable with and proud of, who they are. It, therefore, adds flavor to discover that Lassiter overcame academic struggles growing up, to become a decorated educator and author.
The characters are very relatable, too. For instance, Amber's classmates are these happy-to-share smart alecks - traits common in the target age group. Illustrations are brightly colored and equally expressive. They quickly get the reader invested in the story. I couldn't help laughing at some of Amber's facial expressions as she interacted with her classmates.
This book appears to have been professionally edited because I didn't come across a single error. For the detailed descriptions, rich figures of speech, bright pictures, and professional editing, all surrounding a problem that needs to be creatively solved, I give What's Your Favorite Color? a 4 out of 4 stars rating. I recommend it to parents and teachers of young children, especially 3rd and 4th graders. Adults who are young at heart would also enjoy it, but not as much as non-native English speakers wanting to improve their mastery of the language.
What's Your Favorite Color?
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