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MY BLUE IS HAPPY by Jessica Young


by Jessica Young ; illustrated by Catia Chien

Age Range: 4 - 7

Pub Date: Aug. 6th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-7636-5125-1
Publisher: Candlewick

A little girl’s contrarian views about the emotional significance of various colors permit her to explore her individuality among family and friends.

“ ‘Yellow is cheery,’ says my mom. / ‘Like the summer sun.’ / But my yellow is worried / Like a wilting flower / And a butterfly caught in a net.” Her best friend loves pink: “It’s pretty, like a ballerina’s tutu.” Pink can be annoying, however, like a bug bite and gum on a shoe. Chien’s acrylic double-page spread shows four pink-clad dancers in a studio, with our narrator troubled both by flying pests and, yes, gum stretching from her slipper’s sole. Young’s plainly delivered, poetic text achieves a subtly conspiratorial tone, as the little girl establishes the specialness of brown chocolate syrup and gray’s “curled-up kitten” coziness. Some of the metaphorical musings seem too adult for a child narrator and might elude young children, especially since Chien illustrates some and ignores others. (That captured butterfly, for example, never appears, and a prowling orange tiger seems to confront the narrator directly.) Her rich but controlled palette and simply drawn faces evoke a bit of Brian Karas’ work.

An uneven but interesting meditation on the resonance of color, for classroom or family sharing. (Picture book. 4-7)