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A Color of His Own Board book – November 14, 2000
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Leo Lionni, children's book creator extraordinaire, author of such beloved picture books as Frederick, Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse, Swimmy, and Inch by Inch, all Caldecott Honor winners, introduces color concepts in an exquisite and touching story. This small board book edition of the classic tale of self-acceptance and friendship will be a favorite for toddlers and parents alike. (Baby to preschool) --Emilie Coulter
From School Library Journal
More About the Author
"From time to time, from the endless flow of our mental imagery, there emerges unexpectedly something that, vague though it may be, seems to carry the promise of a form, a meaning, and, more important, an irresistible poetic charge."--Leo Lionni
Leo Lionni wrote and illustrated more than 40 highly acclaimed children's books. He received the 1984 American Institute of Graphic Arts Gold Medal and was a four-time Caldecott Honor Winner--for Inch by Inch, Frederick, Swimmy, and Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse. Leo Lionni died in October of 1999 at his home in Tuscany, Italy, at the age of 89.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
"Of all the questions I have been asked as an author of children's books, the most frequent one, without doubt, has been 'How do you get your ideas?' Most people seem to think that getting an idea is both mysterious and simple. Mysterious, because inspiration must come from a particular state of grace with which only the most gifted souls are blessed. Simple, because ideas are expected to drop into one's mind in words and pictures, ready to be transcribed and copied in the form of a book, complete with endpapers and cover. The word get expresses these expectations well. Yet nothing could be further from the truth.
"It is true that, from time to time, from the endless flow of our mental imagery, there emerges unexpectedly something that, vague though it may be, seems to carry the promise of a form, a meaning, and, more important, an irresistible poetic charge. The sense of instant recognition with which we pull this image into the full light of our consciousness is the initial impulse of all creative acts. But, though it is important, it produces no more than the germ of an idea. Each book, at the birth of its creative history, has such a moment. Some are fortunate enough to have, from the outset, a strongly identified hero, one with an inescapable destiny. Others are blessed with a promising beginning, or perhaps with the vision of an ending (which means working backwards to a surprise opening). Others stem from a clearly articulated conflict situation. Sometimes, I must admit, the motivations of a book may be found in a sudden, unreasonable urge to draw a certain kind of crocodile. And it may even happen that in the dark of our minds there appears, out of nowhere, a constellation of words that has the bright, arrogant solidity of a title. Only last night I was jolted out of a near-slumber by the words the mouse that didn't exist. I am sure that, temporarily tucked away in my memory, they will eventually become the title of a story for which as yet I have no idea.
"To shape and sharpen the logic of a story, to tighten the flow of events, ultimately to define the idea in its totality, is much like a game of chess. In the light of overall strategy, each move is the result of doubts, proposals, and rejections, which inevitably bring to mind the successes or failures of previous experiences.
"Inspirational raptures may happen, but most books are shaped through hard, disciplined work. Creative work, to be sure, because its ingredients come from the sphere of the imaginary. But the manipulation of these ingredients requires much more than mere inclination or talent. It is an intricate process in which the idea slowly takes form, by trial and error, through detours and side roads, which, were it not for the guidance of professional rigor, would lead the author into an inextricable labyrinth of alternatives.
"And so, to the question 'How do you get your ideas?' I am tempted to answer, unromantic though it may sound, 'Hard work.' "
Leo Lionni has gained international renown for his paintings, graphic designs, illustrations, and sculpture, as well as for his books for children. He was born in Holland in 1910 of Dutch parents, and although his education did not include formal art courses (in fact, he has a doctorate in economics from the University of Genoa), he spent much of his free time as a child in Amsterdam's museums, teaching himself to draw.
Lionni's business training gradually receded into the background as his interest in art and design grew. Having settled in Milan soon after his marriage in 1931, he started off by writing about European architecture for a local magazine. It was there that he met the contacts who were to give him a start as a professional graphic designer. When he moved to America in 1939, Lionni was hired by a Philadelphia advertising agency as art director. Later he became design director for the Olivetti Corporation of America, and then art director for Fortune magazine. At the same time, his reputation as an artist flourished as he began to exhibit his paintings and drawings in galleries from New York to Japan.
Lionni launched his career as an author/illustrator of books for children in 1959. Originally developed from a story he had improvised for his grandchildren during a dull train ride, Little Blue and LittleYellow was the first of what is now a long list of children's picture books, including four Caldecott Honor Books.
Top Customer Reviews
The objects and animals in this book are presented very clearly with uncluttered illustrations. Each object or animal is clearly identified by its color on each particular page. Lionni does a great job of using clear, simple language to introduce each color. The artwork is unique and catches the attention of young children.
Overall, A Color of His Own, is a great book to use to teach young children the concept of colors. Lionni's simple language and inventive style of illustrations make this book the success it is. This book serves as a great teaching tool to use with young children.
Here is my issue with the book: the illustrations. While I like the style of the art, the colors themselves make me scratch my head. The goldfish is red (even the text says a goldfish is red), and the lemon is pretty green. (A classroom of preschoolers today yelled "GREEN!" for what color the chameleon turned when standing on a lemon).
Again, very cute, and I like the story, but I'm not sure if I'd want to read it to a classroom or to my own kids over and over, clarifying each time that the colors are a little off. Of course I don't think a child would grow up thinking things are the wrong colors, but kids who "get it" will ask every time or point it out every time which of course affects the flow of the reading.
The pictures are really well done, and the story is wonderful. The chameleon is searching for permanence. He tries to stay on a leaf and remain the same color forever, but he changes with the color of the leaf in the autumn, and he goes through the dark winter.
But then he meets another chameleon! His need for something unchanging could not be met by denying his nature and remaining the same color all the time. Instead, his need was met by his new companion.
This is a really good lesson. We can't be perfect. We can't have "ideal" lives. We can't remain young forever. But it's our close relationships that help us go through life. I hope my daughter finds friends who will be there through life's changing colors.
Young children might get confused because some of the colors are off. The goldfish are more like orange than red. (And aren't most goldfish orange?) The lemon is more like a yellow green. The black winter night is more like a dark brown. But overall, a good read.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The book is great itself but the copy we received seems used. There is gritty residue on each edge, causing all the pages to stick together...Published 28 days ago by Allison
The story is charming and clever; the pictures are interesting and beautiful!
However, I could never recommend this book because the text’s description of colors does... Read more
I LOVE Leo Lionni and he doesn't disappoint with this book. I love reading this to my nephews and they love the chameleon and all his beautiful colors. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Graciexpie