I was aware a little while ago, of a colourful pop-up book doing the rounds. Yet somehow I shamefully missed actually reading it. However, the paperback non-pop-up version has just arrived, and I am very very excited to show it to you.
It is The Colour Monster. Written and illustrated by Anna Llenas and published by Templar Publishing.
Yes, I am partial to a monster based book, and I also LOVE colours, so there couldn’t be anything much more perfect as far as I’m concerned. Actually, add to that a pinch of emotional guidance and we’re there.
The Colour Monster is an examination of emotions and feelings. The poor monster arrives at the beginning of the book feeling every emotion and completely confused by it all. So, the monster’s friend, helps him identify and separate each emotion out.
This book is truly wonderful. Each of the main emotions are addressed, defined very clearly and associated with its own, perfectly chosen, colour. We have yellow for happiness, blue for sadness, red for anger, black for fear and green for calm. It’s not necessarily a new concept, but it’s such a great one, to associate a feeling with a visual element such as colour. For many people (in particular children) this is the best way to understand and get to grips with an intangible thing. The little twist at the end is also a delightful thing.
For each of the negative emotions, the monster’s friend explains how she can help him through it, either by holding his hand, or being beside him. She also explains how the good emotions will feel, how to identify them. It’s really expertly executed.
The illustrations are one of my favourite aspects of this book. Set upon a plain white background, a cardboard collage effect has been used to create all the characters and other elements of the book. Because of this, the artwork has a depth to it, so the images and lusciously bright colours leap off the page at you. It’s modern and fun! Each colour and emotion is really clearly defined so as not to confuse children. The characterisation is also brilliant. The monster’s facial features and posture emphasise each feeling, which again can open discussions with children, on how you recognise someone who may be feeling angry or sad etc.
So, who is this book for? Or more accurately who isn’t it for? This is the perfect introduction to emotions for very young children. It’s absolutely ideal for children with learning difficulties, anxiety or autism who may find their emotions overwhelming and confusing at times. It’s a great tool in the classroom to help children learn empathy, how they can help others handle the negative emotions.
There is so much you can do with The Colour Monster from an educational perspective. It would make a great lead in for discussion about emotions at home or in the classroom, also into artwork based on the colours, maybe using the jar idea, or even creative writing.
But, saying all of that, The Colour Monster is just a glorious, technicolour delight to enjoy as a story in its own right. Two gorgeously cute characters and bucketfuls of colour! What’s not to love?
The Colour Monster is now available to buy or borrow from all good bookshops and libraries.
Ana Llenas has a gorgeous colourful corner of the internet right here:
Thank you for reading this emotional and rather colourful Book Monster review.