Author: Leo Lionni
Here’s another Leo Lionni’s picture books… it is Lionni’s first and one of our favourites.
(Here’s the link to Inch by Inch, we love this too :))
In this story, you meet two main characters – Little Blue and Little Yellow. The two round blobs of colour are best friends and one day Little Blue sets out to look for Little Yellow but alas, Little Yellow is nowhere to be seen. When they finally meet, they are so happy they greet each other with a hug… and find that their colours combine to make green.
Initially their parents do not recognize their children (you can feel tension in the air when you’re reading to class) and it is not until the tears of the children break the colours apart that they realize what is happening (see a look of relief on the kids’ faces). Little Blue and Little Yellow return to their original colour and shapes.
This book offers a wonderful opportunity to teach children about colours. But the story really goes beyond just that. While you can organize fun colour experiments with the young ones, you can use this story to have the older ones ponder on how friends rub off each other. Ask children to tell about the times when someone they know has changed them in some way.
Did you know Leo Lionni conceived this book while he was on a train with his very active grandchildren? They were getting quite restless and difficult when grandpa decided he would put on his creative thinking hat and amuse them. He grabbed his magazine, ripped out a page with blue, yellow and green design and created a story~! What a story teller! That is how this classic was born.
After creating Little Blue and Little Yellow, Leo Lionni left his profession in the advertising world and devoted the rest of his life to the world of children’s books.
Frances Foster who was Lionni’s editor at Pantheon said this about Lionni’s appeal.
“Kids still identify with his characters. They respond to the rhythm of his language, his playfulness and imagination, the simplicity of action and the logic of his stories. When Little Blue and Little Yellow was first published, many thought it was too abstract for children to understand, but that was far from the truth. Children had no trouble ‘reading’ Lionni’s abstract shapes and following his story line. They were the first to understand that he was playing with color and shapes to evoke meaning.”