They Say Blue (Jillian Tamaki)

Hello, friends! Our book today is They Say Blue by Jillian Tamaki, a thought-provoking meditation on the colors of life.

They say that the sky is blue, and that the sea is too, thinks the little girl who serves as narrator. However, she muses, when she holds the water in her hand, it becomes as clear as glass; when she throws it into the sky, it sparkles like diamonds. It’s this train of thought – the natural wonders of color, of seasons, of nature, of life – that the girl remarks on as she goes about her days. The yellow of a field seems like a sea she could sail upon, unless of course the rain has made it gray and dull (though that same rain is what brings the vibrant purple flowers of spring). Her hair is as black as the cloak of night, and her mother parts it like a curtain to let the sun in each morning; braids it as the two consider the equally black crows outside, and what the crows might be considering of them in return.

This is a truly lovely book. There’s no real lesson here: colors, seasons, and weather are all touched upon but hardly covered in-depth. The narrative flows more like a stream of consciousness, one of childlike wonder, curiosity, and imagination. It’s a journey, and a beautiful one at that, filled with striking art that blends the real, symbolic, and abstract in swirling, sweeping movement and, yes, color. The text has a soothing tone that doesn’t compete with the illustrations, making for a calming and contemplative read. The length was great, and JJ and I both enjoyed this. A beautiful look at the life of color, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved.

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