They Say Blue, illustrated and written by Jillian Tamaki

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Children , Reviews

They Say Blue, illustrated and written by Jillian Tamaki

Title: They Say Blue
By: Tamaki, Jillian
Published: 2018
Call #: JPicture Tamak.J

2015 Caldecott Honor winner Jillian Tamaki usually creates graphic novels for older readers but here she presents a striking work for a younger picture book audience, and does so with amazing grace. With swirling brush strokes and flowing vibrant imagery, this philosophical creation gets inside the head of a curious girl thinking about the natural world around her, and, when thinking about the blood flowing in her veins and the heart pumping said blood, inside her. There isn’t a plot per se, but we readers follow the girl as she thinks about the colors around her, trying, for example, to understand why blue ocean water suddenly becomes clear as you hold it. Some of the spreads take on a whimsical quality, especially the one that shows her in a boat trying to sail on a field of grass that looks like a golden ocean. Tamaki gives us a surreal moment when the child, stretching her fingers to the sky, becomes a tree. Throughout, Tamaki creates surprising moments like this. The book joins a growing list of other child-friendly works (like Antoinette Portis’ Now and the lovely Life, illustrated by Brendan Wenzel and written by Cynthia Rylant) that give thoughtful kids something to think about as they examine beautifully rendered art.


Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.

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