They Say Blue
They Say Blue

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Annotation: In captivating paintings full of movement and transformation, this story follows a young girl as she examines the colors in the world around her.
Catalog Number: #160419
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2018
Pages: 40
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 1-419-72851-2 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-1171-4
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-419-72851-8 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-1171-5
Dewey: E
LCCN: 2017015989
Dimensions: 26 cm.
Subject Heading:
Color. Fiction.
Language: English
Horn Book
A girl considers the wondrousness of the world around her, prompted by the colors she encounters throughout her day. The text moves effortlessly between prosaic description and poetic contemplation, making of color something both familiar and extraordinary. Tamaki's rich acrylic paintings combine scratchy ink line work with watery brushstrokes, establishing a visual tension that echoes this paradoxical sense of things being just at hand yet frequently astonishing.
Kirkus Reviews
Readers experience the colors and sensations of the world through the varying moods and observations of one little girl.A golden-skinned child with straight black hair frolics in the water, noticing that the sea looks blue from a distance. "But when I hold the water in my hands, it's as clear as glass." She ponders hidden colors, from the orange of the yolk nestled inside an egg to the red blood that is always pumping through her body, whether she is calm and quiet or running across a playground filled with ethnically diverse children in school uniforms. Her mood soars as she imagines riding a boat over waving yellow grass but comes thudding down to earth as she disembarks from her school bus beside said grassy field, stepping into the cold grayness of a rainy day. The exuberant joys of spring and summer, the return of autumn, and the natural slowing down of winter's return mark the passage of time. The poetic language pairs well with the acrylic-and-Photoshop paintings. Most of the artwork conveys movement and feeling rather than being meticulously literal—such as when the girl muses about the color of blue whales and impressionistic dabs of darker blue form the flukes of a whale beneath her—with the startling exception of the detailed, highly realistic spread of crows taking flight.Neither exactly a book about colors nor exactly a book about seasons, this is a reminder to slow down, savor the present, notice small details, and relish childlike wonder. (Picture book. 4-8)
Publishers Weekly
A girl weighs what she-s been told about the world against what she observes and knows, leading to more questions and contemplations. Working in lush, watery acrylics, Tamaki (This One Summer) initially paints the girl on a windy beach. She admits that the sky and sea look blue at the moment: -But when I hold the water in my hands, it-s as clear as glass.- Just because something is visible doesn-t mean it-s true, the girl recognizes, and there-s truth in the invisible, too (-I don-t need to crack an egg to know it holds an orange yolk inside-). Color and nature-red blood, golden fields, a purple flower-serve as a through line in a story that takes a surreal leap when the girl throws off her winter layers, stretches, and grows into a tree, continuing her observations as the seasons pass. In a quiet conclusion, the girl (human once again) and her mother watch crows soar against a dawn sky that-s far from blue. Thinking, imagining, noticing-these, Tamaki suggests, are the tools we have to understand our world. Ages 5-7. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Mar.)

Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* There's something ineffable about Caldecott Honor Book illustrator Tamaki's debut picture book, but that might be precisely the point. In swirly washes of aqueous color, laid down in thick, textural brushstrokes, and evocative figures sketched in fine lines of black ink, a young girl contemplates the world around her, with special attention to color, mood, and mutability. She notices the color of the sky and the ocean, and how they're different from water in her hand. She notes how she knows some colors g yolks, blood thout having to see them. Tamaki sends her young protagonist on a happy flight of fancy while she observes a field of yellow grass, but that imaginative journey is quashed by the gray, rainy sky matching her grumpy mood. There's not a structured narrative or lesson per se, but Tamaki nevertheless latches onto something particularly childlike in her depiction of the constant motion of seasons, feelings, what words mean, and the world at large. The free-associative nature of the child narrator's interaction with her surroundings seems utterly familiar, and approaching it with observational, sensory language lands it firmly in territory children can relate to. This poetic, off-kilter little book has enigmatic power, and observant children will likely be enchanted.
Word Count: 357
Reading Level: 2.2
Interest Level: K-3
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 2.2 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 198458 / grade: Lower Grades
Guided Reading Level: M

In her first picture book, the Caldecott and Printz HonorDwinning co-creator of "This One Summer" follows a young girl through a year or a day as she examines the colors in the world around her. Full color.x 10.

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