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A Color of His Own Hardcover – June 13, 2006


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 3 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 2
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (June 13, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375836977
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375836978
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 7.6 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #98,144 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Every animal has a color of its own. "Parrots are green, elephants are gray, pigs are pink." But chameleons change color wherever they go. "On lemons they are yellow. In the heather they are purple." One chameleon is not pleased with his changeable appearance. He thinks, "If I remain on a leaf, I shall be green forever, and so I too will have a color of my own." Of course, what he doesn't take into account is the changes wrought by autumn, and soon the green chameleon is yellow, then red, and then tumbled to the ground for the long black winter night. It isn't until he befriends another older, wiser chameleon that our hero begins to find inner peace, even as his outer surface is transformed again and again.

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 --This text refers to the Board book edition.

Review

"Lionni's signature watercolors span the rainbow in this story of a chameleon who, while searching for his identity, finds a friend with whom he can share his changeable nature." —Publishers Weekly

"As captivating now as it was when first published in 1975." —Children's Literature

More About the Author

author spotlight
"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.

Customer Reviews

Love this story and the illustrations.
Amazon Customer
My boys loved this so much that my copy got worn out.
kandersen
I recommend this book for all who have children.
Colleen McKinney

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Alexandra Yarrow on June 10, 2000
Format: Paperback
As a library clerk for the past two years, I have loved this book for a long time, and it's absolutely my favorite. Aside from the fact that Lionni was a giften writer and illustrator (who will be sadly missed), I love this book because it's a story about being accepted, and learning to accept yourself. As if any of us know what color we are, literally or metaphorically. The most we can hope for is to find someone with whom we can share all our different colors.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By History_of_Art_Geek on April 12, 2002
Format: Board book
Join this charming chameleon on the road to discovery where he searches for a "color of his own." He learns to adapt to different "colored" environments while feeling left out, and along the way befriends a fellow chameleon and gains lasting companionship and happiness. This delightful board book captures babies attention with simple content and colorful illustrations, while teaching young children about feelings of belonging, friendship, compassion, and the most obvious - colors: green, red, gray, pink, yellow, and purple. This is a terrific tale! One-year and up.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Maggie Mattmiller on May 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover
First, let me say I love the message of the story. There is a chameleon who wants "A Color Of His Own", because other animals and things have their own colors. Later, he finds another chameleon and they always stick together, so they are always the same.

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.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Holly Harris on November 3, 2002
Format: Board book
A Color of His Own is a wonderful beginning book for young children that teaches children colors. This book also stresses the importance of being and individual and does so in a way that young children can understand. In this book, a young chameleon searches high and low for his own color. He decides to stay on a leaf so he will be green forever. Soon, fall comes, the leaves change, and so does he. Sadly, he leaves his leaf and runs into another older and wiser chameleon. He tells the chameleon about his troubles, and the older comforts him and suggests that the two stay together. "We will still change color wherever we go," says the wiser chameleon, "but you and I will always be alike."
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.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By V. Alexander on September 26, 2006
Format: Board book
My daughter is not quite a year, and she laughed at the colorful pictures.

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.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Colleen McKinney on April 12, 2006
Format: Board book
I got this for my son because I had read good reviews about it. Well, it is one of the best books for children. It teaches to be yourself and love yourself. The chameleon wants to be just one color, but of course it isn't possible. In the end he makes a friend with another chameleon who teaches him to accept himself. I recommend this book for all who have children. I think too many people grow up not feeling good about themselves and this book is a good teaching tool.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A. Briones on April 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A book about a chameleon who has a trait that he considers a "defect," finds a way to remedy it but disappointingly fails at it, but then finds accepts this trait by accepting the help of someone who shares the same problem, who eventually becomes a friend, and with whom has fun with their unique characteristic. A good friendship story to read to 3+ year old. But not to someone who is just learning about 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.
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