'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Thursday 29 March 2018

Review: How the Finch Got His Colors

Annemarie Riely Guertin's retelling of the Belgian folktale of the story, How the Finch Got His Colors, touched my soul.

Like many creation stories, the world begins as a bleak colourless place but here in Guetin's story we have the bow of light from Rainbow that '...turned everything in the path into bright colours.'

The Great Bird and ruler of the bird kingdom, circles on the winds above the land. He calls out to the Rainbow, asking to be kissed by her colour. Rainbow turns the Great Bird from stone grey to shimmering gold.

The other birds notice the spectacular colour of the King. They call, chirp and chatter about the colours that they want be. 'Green! Make me green!' called a Parrot.  Rainbow coloured the birds: emerald, cardinal red, sea blue and sun yellow until she became weak and her colours became dim.

Great Birds notices a small grey bird, the Gouldian Finch, who had been waiting patiently for his turn to be kissed by Rainbow. The colourful birds felt wrong that they had begged and pleaded for colours and the Finch had missed out , 'How can we right this wrong?'

If you have seen a Gouldian Finch in the wild or owned one as a pet, then you know the outcome of the story. But to find out how this finch became a beautifully colourful bird of green, yellow, purple, blue and red you will need to read, How the Finch Got His Colors.

Guetin's story is told using a beautiful rhythm, that lilts and flows bright like the colours used in the illustrations by Helena Perez Garcia. The story and illustrations combined reveal emotions of delight, greed and patience, which moved me to tears.

Please note that American English spelling is used in this story. However this does not distract from the beautifully produced book that includes a dust jacket and thick glossy pages.

Other stories about rainbows and colours include: The Rainbow, Colour Me and Two Rainbows.

Title: How the Finch Got His Colors
Author:  Annemarie Riley Guertin
Illustrator: Helena Perez Garcia
Publisher: Familius, $24.99
Publication Date: February 2018
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781945547775
For ages: 6 - 8
Type: Picture Book