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Color Blocked

By Ashley Sorenson

Illustrated by David W. Miles

The color is blocked! Readers must rub, turn, and tap the pages to straighten out pipes, unplug corks, and keep the color flowing. But watch out—the color might run faster than you can keep up! Along the way, readers will learn primary colors, how mixing colors can make secondary colors, and why you should never, ever, put too much trust in a narrator 

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Meet the Authors
Ashley Sorenson headshot

Ashley Sorenson

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David W. Miles headshot

David W. Miles

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Review quotes

"Color Blocked" is an exciting experience for young children learning their primary colors and also learning more about creating secondary colors through all kinds of fun interactions with books, their best friends. Rainbow colored, elaborate illustrations alternate with intricate black and white drawings drenching and belting single and blended colors. Readers are asked to tip, shake, rub, turn sideways, and shut the book to promote color returning to the pages. Dramatic in its artistic development, "Color Blocked" is a glorious experiment in color imagining and creating, contrasted with black and white backgrounds drained of color. "Color Blocked" is wonderful reading for kids age 4-6 and up.

Midwest Book Review

Oops! The color factory has malfunctioned, and turtle needs help as he rushes about attempting to put a riotous rainbow explosion back to rights, in Ashley Sorenson’s visually delectable Color Blocked. Clean black and white lines of industrial pipes juxtapose brilliant drips, splats, and fusions from illustrator David Miles in this interactive introduction to colors and blending. Small hands are prompted to shake, tap, and twist as each turn of the page reveals another color catastrophe.

—Foreword Reviews

Pipes get clogged and readers must help.A steampunk-lite factory with curving, outdoor chutes and tubes—the whole thing possibly floating in the sky as its own planet—shoots colors into the air. The scene is brightly colored. On the second spread, the factory morphs into a black-line drawing of itself, not a single bit colored in; no color sprays out. "Uh-oh"—the color is "blocked," and while some readers may wonder how a blockage of new liquid has rendered the whole factory suddenly black-and-white, others will dig into the instructions on helping. Shaking the book unclogs pipes; turning the book all the way around inexplicably straightens out twisted pipes; turning it sideways dumps out excess color. As primaries flow, they become secondaries; paint-y chaos builds until the bespectacled host turtle, overwhelmed, pleads, "Shut the boooooooooooook!" The color-mixing, paint textures, and splatters are visually fascinating, and the complex pipes are cool, but the paint flow and instructions seem arbitrary, and the illustrations are disjointed. Miles' mixed media on board includes some stock images, and while it's unclear which ones, that's hardly a recommendation. Hervé Tullet's Mix It Up (2014) is far more luscious, and Eric Telchin and Diego Funck's Black and White Factory (2016) covers very similar ground, down to animal hosts wearing glasses; both feature reader participation. Not a first choice. (Picture book. 3-6) 

Kirkus Reviews

Product Details
Age range
4 - 6
Grade range
P - 1
Number of pages
Publication date
April 04, 2017