Analyzing the Stories Behind this Year’s Caldecotts
Written and illustrated by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
A Neal Porter Book, Roaring Book Press
Green is a concept picture book. Usually concept books teach something—numbers, letters, colors, and so on. In Green, Seeger may have been trying to teach about the various shades of green, but I speculate she was trying to explore the color and encourage us to do the same.
The book has a total of thirty-two words. Each two page spread includes two words describing the kind of green shown in the illustration. The first half of the book deals with shades of green (forest green, pea green, khaki green, and so on). The center-spread shows a green-striped zebra with the words wacky green. Then come pages where the word green is preceded by a word that describes it and the corresponding illustration (slow, faded, all, never). The book ends with a lovely illustration and the words forever green.
I’m not sure that a non-illustrator would have been able to sell this text. I have a feeling the text and illustrations were shown and sold as a package (and they make a beautiful package). But the world of concept picture books still has plenty of room for writer folks like us. And if this book is any indication, some publishers still like publishing concept books.