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Konečná’s painterly approach comes through strongly, as each spread features a populous array of finely brushed images of flora and fauna topped by a row of 12 large, labeled daubs that identify most of the hues found beneath—though not all of them, which rather vitiates the thesis. Within the crowded “polar regions” habitat, for instance, the artist uses seven different blues, three whites, and, visually adjacent to both, “frozen grass” and “winter breath,” but warmer reds, browns, and yellows in both flora and fauna go unremarked. Also, in severe contrast to the sober, respectful tone of the art, the succinct narrative (in an uncredited translation from Czech) tends toward rhapsodic fancies more ludicrous than lyrical: “A-oo, taiga, the cold beauty of the North—we fall at your feet!”; “Fragrant oranges put their ears to the lips of olives.” (Italicized words refer to depicted plants and animals.) Like the colors, the wildlife is all labeled…if in a florid cursive script that less-confident readers may struggle to decipher. Still, none of the highlighted colors (or at least their names, which are standard ones) are used more than once, and their very arrangement atop each spread offers lessons in color harmonies that are reinforced by a discussion and color wheel on the final pages.

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