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Little Blue and Little Yellow Paperback – August 24, 1995


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 210L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 48 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Reprint edition (August 24, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780688132859
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688132859
  • ASIN: 0688132855
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,232 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"An unusual, imaginative, stimulating, and appealing picture book." -- -- The Horn Book

About the Author

Leo Lionni, an internationally known designer, illustrator, and graphic artist, was born in Holland and lived in Italy until he came to the United States in 1939. He was the recipient of the 1984 American Institute of Graphic Arts Gold Medal and was honored posthumously in 2007 with the Society of Illustrators’ Lifetime Achievement Award. His picture books are distinguished by their enduring moral themes, graphic simplicity and brilliant use of collage, and include four Caldecott Honor Books: Inch by Inch, Frederick, Swimmy, and Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse. Hailed as “a master of the simple fable” by the Chicago Tribune, he died in 1999 at the age of 89. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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

This book is so perfect for my 1st grader.
Travelbug34
This is a great story of love and friendship, but the illustrations are what makes it!
Allison Y. Roquemore
The illustrations are so simple, yet perfect for this story.
mrgrinch09

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on March 13, 2004
Format: Paperback
Ever feel like you've been stumped by a book? Like a moral of a story has been staring you in the face and you're just too slow or dim-witted to get it? Such was my reaction after reading Leo Lionni's elusive, "Little Blue and Little Yellow". I liked it. Of course I did. But on my honor as a gentleman I just did NOT get the book's message. Which is perhaps exactly as it should be.
We all are familiar with Leo Lionni's work, even if we don't initially think we are. Whether you've seen his cut out mice or forest scenes, his is a recognizable style. In this particular book Lionni has relied on roughly hewn pieces of brightly colored paper (or is it fabric?) to tell a story. The tale follows two blobs of color. On is Blue. The other is Yellow. Yellow and Blue are good friends and lead productive blobby lives with their other little friends. They play games, attend school, etc. One day Blue looses Yellow for a little while and when they are reunited they hug until they meld into a single splotch of green. The single green splotch, however, looks nothing like Blue or Yellow. Whatever will our intrepid heroes do?
Suffice to say, all turns out well in the end. The status quo is maintained, peace reigns, yadda yadda yadda. So what's the moral of the story? Just to help you figure it out, the last two pages of the text display Blue and Yellows momma and poppas hugging one another until THEY turn green. Maybe it doesn't mean anything at all. But it certainly does make for an interesting tale. Nothing like simplicity to tie up the ole synapses for a while.
I can see children enjoying this book. I can also see different children growing bored with this book. It really is going to depend on the child more than anything else.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Mordy Golding on September 1, 2004
Format: Paperback
Ask me what my favorite book was when I was growing up and that answer is going to be Little Blue and Little Yellow. Sure, there were other books that I'd read over and over again, or sit in the library with a stack of em on a Friday afternoon after school, but none was like Little Blue and Little Yellow.

I can't describe why or how, but the book just connected with me. Fast-forward over 25 years later and here I am, a graphic designer, and I still am inspired by this book. I'm also a teacher and usually mention this book during my class, as it pertains to graphic design and the mixture of colors. Every time I tell the story, the class enjoys it immensely. And I teach adults mind you :)
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 25, 2000
Format: School & Library Binding
This book demonstrates an understanding of colors, changes of colors through blending, and friendship. A wonderful book for parents to own with children of all ages. Not only does this book cover colors and friendship, it touches on differences in families and people. Teaches that friends come in all colors, and they can affect each other's lives. A perfect book for the home or the classroom.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By www.firrkids.com on October 23, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I'll be honest here. I have always liked Leo Lionni, but have never come across this book before. A little internet digging and I learn that Little Blue and Little Yellow has cult following, with many people claiming it as the best book of their entire childhood. The release of this 50th anniversary edition means older fans can delight brand new groups of readers with their favorite tale of color.

On the surface, this is very simple story of two color dots who are the best of friends. Little blue and little yellow live across the street from each other and play together every day. On one such day, they were so happy to see each other that the two friends hug tightly until they turn green! They play as green all day long, visiting the park, chasing their friends and getting plain worn out.
When the duo returns home, mama and papa blue do not recognize little green, nor do mama and papa yellow. Rebuffed by both color families, they cry big blue and yellow tears until there is no green left. Only then do their parents hug and kiss them. When papa blue hugs little yellow, they suddenly realize what had happened! They all hug with joy and everyone is terrifically happy again.

This is possibly the most simply illustrated book I have ever seen and yet manages to be utterly charming at the same time. The pages are composed of blobs and smears of paint against plain white (although there is one black and one red page) backgrounds. Like the paintings, the words are simple, but beautiful. The end result is a wonderful book that you and your children will most certainly fall in love with.
Leo Lionni wrote this story while on a train trip with his two grandchildren. His charges were becoming increasing animated, and Lionni realized he needed some fast, creative thinking.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Kristine Strelow on November 20, 2005
Format: Paperback
To an adult, this book doesn't seem like anything all that special. It's about colored dots. The story is sweet, though, and easy for young children to appreciate. My multi-age 3-5 year old classroom loved it (I used it with our science unit on colors). It's great for talking about color (blue and yellow make green) and about appreciating differences (race).
I heard a horror story from a fellow teacher about this book that other teachers should be aware of: a kindergarten teacher read this book to her students and was repremanded by her principal. He said that when little blue and little yellow hug, and make green, it is sexual. He also said that it is racist that little blue's parents are blue and little yellow's parents are yellow and this does not reflect a multi-cultural view. Both of these seem silly to me. Just be aware.
Personally, I love it and so did my students!
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