Hello, Red Fox

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At the library the other day I was trying to find Eric Carle’s The Hungry Caterpillar. Luckily for me, it was checked out and I found Hello, Red Fox instead.  I was intrigued by this green fox masquerading as a red fox, so we brought it home.

I opened the cover, and immediately Little O wanted to turn the pages, so away we went.  I quickly realized that this book was a bit unusual, but with Little O speedily turning pages it was hard for this mama to fully appreciate.  Little O loved the brightly colored animals and we went through the book a couple of times.  Once he went down for his nap, I had a bit of time to myself to really dig in.

The unusual thing I noticed while Little O was turning pages as fast as he could was that on each left-hand page there was an illustration of a brightly colored animal.  On each right-hand page there was a small black dot.  I knew what these little black dots were for, and was delighted that Carle had crafted a book that introduces the concept of complimentary colors, or “opposite” colors using afterimages.

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Basically what happens is that when you stare at a color long enough, and then look at a white page, you’ll see the same image, only in the opposite color of the original image.  (So the orange fish pictured will be blue in the afterimage.)  There is a scientific explanation for this phenomena, having to do with your rods and cones tiring out and sending weak and strong signals to your brain, but I’ll let you look that up if you’re really interested.

Little O is a bit too young to appreciate the phenomenon of afterimages, but older kids will have fun with this book.  I recommend checking it out from the library and have some fun with complimentary colors!

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