Ehlert's characteristically vibrant style is perfectly suited to this gardening primer. Ages 3-7. (Feb.)
PreS-Gr 1 Planting a Rainbow , a companion to Ehlert's Growing Vegetable Soup (HBJ, 1987), is a dazzling celebration of the colorful variety in a flower garden and the cyclical excitement of gardening. A young child relates in ten simple sentences the yearly cycle and process of planning, planting, and picking flowers in a garden. Mother and child plant bulbs in fall, order seeds from catalogs in winter, eagerly anticipate the first shoots of spring, select seedlings in summer, ``and watch the rainbow grow,'' reveling in the opulence of color. The power of this book lies in the glowing brilliance and bold abstraction of the double-page collages. Ehlert combines simple, stylized shapes of flat, high intensity color into abstract yet readily identifiable images of plants and flowers while clearly and colorfully labeling each plant on an adjacent garden marker. Children will especially delight in the six pages of varying width depicting all the flowers of each color of the rainbow. A celebration of the garden, the power of shape and color, and the harmony of text and image in a picture book. Pamela Miller Ness, The Fenn School, Concord, Mass.