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How the Finch Got His Colors

By Annemarie Riley Guertin

Illustrated by Helena Pérez García

Many years ago, before the world bloomed in magnificent colors, the Earth lay stark and gray.

The animals that graced its skies and roamed its lands were the colors of dirt, clay, and stone . . . 

. . . until Rainbow descended to bestow her colors on the creatures of the world. Each bird asked for a bright and beautiful color: green for Parrot, red for Cardinal, and yellow for Canary. But will there be any colors left for little Gouldian Finch? He soon learns the power of patience and the beauty of all creatures.

Based on a Belgian folktale, this beautifully told and illustrated tale is a timeless treasure for every collection.

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Meet the Authors
Annemarie  Riley Guertin headshot

Annemarie Riley Guertin

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Helena Pérez  García headshot

Helena Pérez García

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Review quotes

"In a style resembling a creation myth, Guertin describes how animals got their colors. A quasi-biblical downpour concludes with a shimmering rainbow, which imparts color to all the animals in its path. The language is poetic: 'The fish in the ocean waters glinted silver, violet, and aquamarine. The yellow duck paddled in the sapphire blue of the pond. And the red fox scurried through the amber forest.' Great Bird, ruler of the bird kingdom, begs Rainbow to color him, and 'with one swift kiss, she turned Great Bird from gray to shimmering gold.' All the other birds jostle to be colored by the rainbow. One by one, Parrot, Cardinal, Blue Jay, Canary, and all the other birds are appropriately colored. As the colors begin to run out, Great Bird notices a small Gouldian finch (a rare Australian finch) who is still uncolored. It turns out the finch was too polite and waited too long, until the colors had been given to the more acquisitive fowl. Rainbow's solution? With their agreement, she gathers a splash of color from each of the birds, and Gouldian Finch is magically transformed into his true rainbow-colored splendor. Pérez García adopts a folk-art style to complement the story, which is based on a Belgian folk tale, flat perspectives and stylized shapes evoking European decorative motifs. An imaginative chromatic fantasy with an altruistic conclusion."
Kirkus Review

Product Details
Age range
5 - 8
Number of pages
Publication date
March 06, 2018