I’m not sure that I would describe this week’s book as a book that I picked up and fell wholeheartedly and unreservedly in love with, but it is a book that I find fascinating and intriguing in equal measure.
It’s also nye on impossible to photograph which of course makes it a sure fire winner; well I always like a challenge.
Because The Black Book of Colours is what it says it is: black. All the way through. It’s a book of colours without a colour in sight.
But it is also a book packed full of colour, just in a way that uses senses other than your eyes.
They’re how the colours appear to Thomas, he hears them and smells them and touches them and tastes them. He just doesn’t see them.
Red is “sour like unripe strawberries”, “sweet as watermelon” and hurts when you find it on a scraped knee. Blue is the sky when kites are flying and you can feel the sun on your head, but when the rain pours down then it’s white.
All of the descriptions are very evocative, reading it you know exactly what shade of blue he sees for the sky, or the precise green of a freshly mown lawn, though my favourite has to be the description of black;
“as soft as silk when his mother hugs him and her hair falls in his face.”
And to go with the words every image, including the ones on the covers are embossed in black, so that as you read you can trace your fingers across the leaves or feathers or strawberries, to find the images that make up the rainbow or just the falling rain.
And finally above all of the written words are those same words spelled out in braille. I’m fascinated by braille, I’ve a fondness for any kind of code or a language that uses different characters which would explain both the ancient greek GCSE and the fact that I taught myself to write in viking runes when I was in my early teens (a skill sadly long since departed from my memory). Braille just seems so delicate and intricate; I can run my fingers over the dots but I really struggle to tell one letter apart from the others without individually counting the dots, or having a quick peek.
There’s a braille alphabet in the back of the book too which is a big help in trying to figure it out, and has been fun for the girls to trace with their fingers.
I’m sure that just as reading the written word gets easier and easier the more you do it, if you had to learn to read in braille the repeated practice would make you a lot faster but I’m still wildly impressed by anyone who can master it.
But perhaps that thing I like the most about this book is that it just is; it doesn’t come with a little explanation, or a moral, or a lesson plan, or anything else, it simply presents the world as it appears to its narrator and lets you explore it at whatever level you choose. I’ve tried to resist the temptation to explain it to Kitty, just answer her questions as they come, and enjoy the fact that it is making her think.
If you have a favourite, or just something fun your little or not so little ones have enjoyed reading lately please do join us. The linky is always open for the whole week so there’s plenty of time. And so, without further ado, it’s over to you to tell me what we should be reading!