Maxine Kumin’s book, What Color is Caesar?, is a delightful children’s book about discovery. Caesar, a black and white spotted dog wonders if he is truly black with white spots or white with black spots. On his quest to find the answer, he speaks with other black and white animals. Rather than answering his question for him, he becomes more confused. The true colors that the animals say they are befuddle him. Eventually his journey takes him to a circus, where he meets a make-believe guru named Harry. Harry, a lollipop loving guru, tells Caesar to look within. Only then will he know his true color. After discovering his true color, that which is inside, Caesar goes back to his home life, secure in the knowledge of who he is.
The messages in this book are simple and clear. One cannot judge a person based on their appearance. One must look within to find one’s true self. Paired with Alison Friend’s dream-like colorful illustrations, What Color is Caesar? is a touching book. My soon-to-be three-year-old has checked it out three times this Summer.