Originally created on the spur of the moment to amuse two children restless from a long train ride, Little Blue and Little Yellow is the book that began Leo Lionni’s long, impressive career as a creator of children’s books — four of which have been named Caldecott Honor Books. Unlike the animal fables for which he is best-known, this innovative picture book features scraps of colored paper that Lionni brings to life as characters: Little Blue, who lives with his blue parents, and Little Yellow, who lives with his yellow parents. The two children have friends of many colors, and together they play and go to school on backgrounds of different shades. Then one day, Little Blue can’t find Little Yellow. He looks everywhere, and when the two finally meet, they are so happy to see each other that they hug and hug — until they become green! They return home to find that their parents don’t recognize them. The distressed little scraps begin to cry, and separate into piles of blue and yellow tears. The relieved parents soon understand what happened, and everything ends happily.
Useful both as an introduction to color blending and as a story of friendship and acceptance, this unique storybook is as refreshing today as when it was first published in 1959. Encourage students to tell their own color stories using scraps of paper or paint.