For years Leo Lionni wrote and illustrated many different titles. His storytelling skills and unique paper illustrations brought him acclaim throughout the reading world. In fact, he is the winner of not one, but four Caldecott Awards for Frederick, Swimmy, Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse, and Inch by Inch. Such an amazing accomplishment is the stuff of other writers’ dreams. But it’s not for the awards, it’s for the kids. If one children’s book can help a child to read or simply have a good time with a book, then that’s all that matters.
Offering a little bit of learning, a bit of reading, and a distinctive style, Little Blue and Little Yellow does not use a person, animal, or even an inanimate object as a character. Instead, the characters are colors, each one giving the book its title. Together, the colors have all kinds of fun adventures, enjoying one another’s company. However, there comes a time when the two are separated and cannot find one another. Finally, after frantic searching, the two colors find each other again. They are so happy, they hug—until suddenly they seem to be lost. In their place is one color; green. What happened to the other two colors?
An interesting way of teaching children about colors, the story uses the two color spots to demonstrate what happens when blue and yellow come together. However, it is also about more than just colors. It is also a story about friendship. Children may learn something from this book, but they might also just enjoy the story. There is no right or wrong answer.
This title has a great deal of staying power. Originally published 50 years ago, Leo Lionni’s book uses a simple idea and simple techniques to bring it to life. These straightforward concepts still ring true even today. Parents who read it when they were young will enjoy reading it to their children and hope that the same will be possible in the future for grandchildren. Given the popularity of Leo Lionni and all of his books, there is a very good chance that this might happen.