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Thursday, January 2, 2014

My Blue is Happy, written by Jessica Young and illustrated by Catia Chien. Candlewick Press, Random House. 2013. $18.00 ages 3 and up

"The boy next door
says red is angry
Like a dragon's
burning breath.
But my red is as
brave as a fire truck
And my superhero

We all have notions (either learned or determined) about the meaning of color in our lives. We have been told that blue means that we are sad, or is a sad color. Red is like a cape in front of a bull, and denotes anger, ire, rage. If you were thinking of colors, how would each one make you feel?

It's a good question, really. While most people might choose what is conventionally acceptable, the little girl in this book is having none of it. To her, the colors mean something significantly different from what we generally have in mind. Her Mom and Dad have opinions, as so others; they just don't mesh with her own:

"Dad says brown is ordinary
Like a plain paper bag.
But my brown is special
Like chocolate syrup...
And a piece of earth
that's just for me."

There are nine colors, and nine totally different ways of looking at the world that is colored by them. Catia Chien uses acrylics paints to show the changing moods and settings for each separate look at the effect that color may have on each of us. Be sure that you have crayons or paints, and paper ready when you share this delightful book with your children. It assures an immediate response from young listeners who will want to try out their own ideas of the world, emblazoned with their colors of choice.

Every traditionally acceptable view of color and its meaning is upended by an independent and free-thinking little girl who presents them in her own way. She shows readers that it is all right to have your own ideas about the world, and she shows us that is can be quite liberating.

I love it!

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