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Charley Harper's Book of Colors: 02/03/19

Charley Harper's Book of Colors

Charley Harper's Book of Colors by Zoe Burke is a picture book that uses Harper's bright, geometric illustrations as inspiration for a color concept book.

The illustrations are by far the best part of the book. Harper has a unique, recognizable and perfectly suited for a board book such as this. Frankly the book would be better without the text.

The text though makes at least one glaring error — a very basic science one — the sort of science that even a toddler can know and understand. There is a bee out collecting pollen and the text calls it a he.

Bees while capable of complex architecture and communication through dance don't have gender rolls or gender expression in a human way. What we do know is that the queen and her workers are female. The only ones who are male are the drones who are there for reproduction only.

In regards to the calico on the cover — there's another case where calico cats are primarily female. The sex linked genetics here are a bit more complicated. Here the text doesn't outright pick a gender, it's left neutral. But it's another point where "she" would have been more appropriate.

Is it ignorance or some internalized misogyny that has removed the females from this book?

Two stars

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