YESTERDAY I HAD THE BLUES by Jeron Ashford Frame


Age Range: 5 - 8
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A young African-American boy uses the blues as a springboard to explore both his emotions and those of his family in this perfectly agreeable picture book. Using bluesy rhythms, newcomer Frame employs concrete language to create fresh, immediate images: “[I had the] hold a pillow, / wish it was tomorrow blues. / The kind of blues / make you wanna just / turn / down / the / volume.” Christie’s raw, expressive acrylic-and-gouache paintings place almost childishly rendered figures against deeply saturated full-bleed backgrounds, amplifying every emotional erg of the text. Modulating from yesterday’s blues to today’s greens, his father’s grays, mother’s reds, and sisters’ pinks and indigos, the boy concludes that he’s got “the kind of family makes you feel / like it’s / all / golden.” While extending the color metaphor nicely, this cheery conclusion does not do enough to incorporate the more negative grays and reds of his parents—nevertheless, the mood/color equation is one familiar to children—and this interpretation will strike a chord with its audience. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2003
ISBN: 1-58246-084-1
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Tricycle
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2003


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