They Say Blue
Author/Illustrator: Jillian Tamaki
Publisher: Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2018
Source: Public Library
In this new picture book by Jillian Tamaki, we get not only a new and unique way of exploring colors and their many variations, but also seasons.
The story begins on a sunny day with a beautiful blue sky. A young girl sitting on the beach notices the water is blue, too. At least for now. Jumping into the waves, she realizes the water is actually clear, which she can “toss… up into the air to make diamonds.” She begins to wonder about colors. She doesn’t need to crack the egg to know the yolk is orange and she knows her blood is red, even when she doesn’t see it.
As the yearly cycle moves on, the grass is golden and the sky changes to deep gray. It’s spring and rain is coming. It’s a sign of new things: a flower blooms, a tree grows its leaves. Summer means lots of activity, whether it be the insects that fly around the tree or children playing ball. Then fall arrives, and the tree loses its golden leaves. Winter comes – a time of white snows and dark, moody skies – and the tree rests.
As the book ends, we are brought once again to the sky. Only this time, it is not blue. As the girl and her mother watch out the window, they notice “the black crows that bob and chatter in the field outside.” The sky is no longer blue, but instead a sea of rich reds and oranges.
With its wonderfully poetic language and its vibrant colors, this book draws us in to nature’s cycles. We begin to think in specifics. They say the sky is blue, but that is not always the case. The grass and leaves are not always green. Each has many variations and Tamaki’s book helps open our eyes to these wonders.