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Cathy Pfeil
Coloring the Rainbow

Picture Book; General Fiction (including literary and historical); (Market)

Coloring the Rainbow: A Story about the Power of Connection, tells a story of the magic created when the unique talents of a group of children are shared in a colorful adventure. The story unfolds as a young boy, practicing his trombone, pauses to wonder if other musical voices exist. When an alluring treble note wafts through his window, he begins a determined quest to find the answer. Playing his horn through the neighborhood he draws other curious children to play their instruments along with him. Come and join the procession of music makers and learn the magic created when diverse voices combine in harmony.
Rose’s touching picture book for young children focuses on the value of connecting with people from all walks of life. The story opens with a little boy who had always been content playing his trombone alone in his room—until one day he begins to wonder whether other sounds could improve his song. One day he hears through his window “a sound high and sweet” that complements his low notes, so he ventures outdoors and starts blowing his horn. He soon attracts a variety of instruments—a piccolo, a Scottish bagpipe, a Korean janggu, French horns—and the kids learn in the best way that “making music together was a joy to discover.”

Anyone who has truly gotten lost in a song knows that music can be transcendent, so it seems natural that the children in this happenstance band soon begin shooting colors from their instruments. The soulful hues travel skyward and “with each single instrument playing its part, a rainbow had formed from the song of each heart.” As a universal symbol of love and acceptance, the rainbow speaks strongly to the power of art in helping people foster connections that transcend all differences. This will give young people and adults the chance to reflect on the importance of community and where they find meaning in their own lives.

Dale’s illustrations are one of this book’s biggest strengths, with the vibrant images showing a familiar yet idealized world where magic can happen. Most pictures show children carrying instruments happily joining the band, with many skin tones, hair colors, and physical abilities represented to help readers feel seen and included. The perspective of many images is intentionally distorted as though in a dream, serving as a reminder that these scenes are an aspirational version of reality. Ultimately this sweet story will show kids everyone plays a role in creating unique and multifaceted experiences.

Takeaway: Inspiring story of children from all walks of life discovering the joy of making music.

Comparable Titles: Rhonda Gowler Greene’s This Magical, Musical Night, David Weinstone’s Music Class Today!

Production grades
Cover: A-
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A