CM . . . . Volume XXIV Number 33 . . . . April 27, 2018
In They Say Blue, written in a stream of consciousness flow, Jillian Tamaki has intertwined the themes of colour and passing seasons. The thoughts of a little girl are described through her observations of the world around her which create a painted story of poetic language.
The story begins with a little girl contemplating the blue sky. Rather than wondering why the sky is blue, she makes the observation that today it is true that the sky is blue, implying of course, that this is not true every day. This one small thought can open up a conversation with a child about how each day can be different with respect to the colour of the sky. As the little girl plays in the water, she notes that, although the water looks blue, when she holds it in her hands, it becomes clear. She continues her musings as she understands that some colours are hidden, such as the orange yolk of an egg. The little girl uses her brilliant imagination to lead readers through the story, navigating from one colour to the next, season after season, considering her surroundings. She, herself, becomes a part of the shifting scenery as she stretches up high and becomes a tree that changes with the seasons.
The pictures in They Say Blue are fluid and reflect movement, and the muted colour palette creates an atmosphere of quiet contemplation. The thoughts of the little girl are illustrated in acrylic paint and Photoshop.
They Say Blue is a lovely book to explore with curious young children who have many questions that pop up about the ever-changing world around us.
Tamara Opar is Section Head of Children's and Teen Services at the Millennium Branch of Winnipeg Public Library.