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Monday, April 30, 2018

Hello Hello, written and illustrated by Brendan Wenzel. Chronicle Books, Raincoast. 2018. $23.99 ages 3 and up

"Hello Hello

Black and white

Hello Color
Hello Bright.

Hello Stripes"

The endpapers hint at the animals we might encounter once we turn the pages of this spirited and dazzling new book by the author of They All Saw A Cat, an impressive picture book about perspective. A turn following the title page brings two cats into focus. One is black, and one is white. They stare at each other across the gutter. Turn the page that black cat greets black bear, faced by a black and white panda and zebra. The text reads black and white. Another turn and the eye is drawn to color ... brilliant color and an end to the first poetic rhyme. Connections are made from one to the next page throughout the entirety of the book, causing readers to consider how important the connections are.

With every step forward readers focus on animals of the world. Some are familiar, some not so. All are worthy of careful study. The mixed media images reveal recognizable features, while also giving the animals personality through the use of expressive eyes. Mr. Wenzel wants his readers to know the many animals that share our world, and to know that many of the ones pictured are on the near
threatened, vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered lists.  How sad is that?

He encourages those who read his book to take the first step - say hello to one and then find out as much as you can about them. Share what you learn and encourage others to do the same. In back matter, he creates a list of each of the animals as it appears in this wonderful book. From the house cat, all the way through to the giraffe (number 92 on his list), it provides encouragement for all to go back and more careful look at all he has shared. Each is named and their status described. In the animal world between 200 and 2,000 species face extinction every single year!  What a sad commentary on the importance we give to each and every one. But, we can help make a change.

What life is on these pages! We can only hope that it remains so.                                                                              

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