They Say Blue

They Say Blue

Winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award, Young People’s Literature – Illustrated Books Caldecott and Printz Honor-winning illustrator Jillian Tamaki brings us a poetic exploration of colour and nature from a young child’s point of view. They Say Blue follows a young girl as she contemplates colours in the known and the unknown, in the immediate world and the world...

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Title:They Say Blue
Author:Jillian Tamaki
Rating:
Edition Language:English

They Say Blue Reviews

  • Christopher

    Here’s your first 2019 Caldecott contender.

  • emma

    Oh, this is so beautiful. Yes, as reviewed, the narrative is less a narrative and more contemplative, but the sounds of the words combined with the art is actually breathtaking. It's full of movement, yet at the same time still and calming. This is so gorgeous.

  • Destinee Sutton

    The art is five stars. Gorgeous. On the first few reads, though, the story left me like huh? I thought it was a story about colors, about seasons, which is what I expected. But then it was about a girl turning into a tree and the ending didn't click for me.

    On the surface, this is hardly a story at all (to be fair, a great many picture books don't really have

    -- just sequences). It took me several reads before I was like oh damn I think I get it maybe.

    The art is five stars. Gorgeous. On the first few reads, though, the story left me like huh? I thought it was a story about colors, about seasons, which is what I expected. But then it was about a girl turning into a tree and the ending didn't click for me.

    On the surface, this is hardly a story at all (to be fair, a great many picture books don't really have

    -- just sequences). It took me several reads before I was like oh damn I think I get it maybe.

    And at the end of the book the sky is this bold red and orange dotted with black crows. Nice. How do we perceive the world around us? For that matter, how do crows perceive it?

    So I think it takes some work to appreciate the text, but that's pretty true of most good poems and good art. I think this book could start some very interesting conversations with kids. And I do like books that ask a lot of questions.

  • Schizanthus

    This is one of those books where adult me and child me would have been at opposite ends of the reviewing spectrum. Adult me thinks that this book is simply beautiful. As the main character ponders different colours and imagines herself as a tree weathering the seasons I felt this lovely sense of tranquility.

    As she and her mother gaze out her bedroom window and wonder what the crows are thinking when they see them I paused and thought about all of the native birds I feed. I often wonder myself w

    This is one of those books where adult me and child me would have been at opposite ends of the reviewing spectrum. Adult me thinks that this book is simply beautiful. As the main character ponders different colours and imagines herself as a tree weathering the seasons I felt this lovely sense of tranquility.

    As she and her mother gaze out her bedroom window and wonder what the crows are thinking when they see them I paused and thought about all of the native birds I feed. I often wonder myself what they’re thinking and whether they’ve named me like I’ve named them. I wonder what my name is in bird world.

    I loved

    ’s illustrations that capture the joy of playing in the ocean, the diversity of a school playground and the majesty of birds in flight. The exploration of colour in the illustrations complements the girl’s musings about various colours along the way.

    Adult me has read this book three times already but still thinks there’s depth to the story I’m probably missing.

    Child me (and I’m not ashamed to admit this) would have liked the pretty and colourful pictures but would have wondered where the story was and asked why the girl turned into a tree. Yes, I was a very literal child and I loved my

    books so if a story didn’t come with a defined plot and interesting (hopefully interesting

    quirky) characters, I’d be a bit “meh” about the book.

    However, it’s adult me reviewing this book so I’m calling it gorgeous and giving it ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.

  • Hilary

    3.5 stars. I didn't think I'd like this from the cover, the girl is drawn in a strange way, out of proportion and clumsy but the inside is a lot better. I really liked the illustrations and the quiet poetic text. A nice journey through colours and seasons.

  • Manybooks

    Now for basically a concept book on colours, nature and the seasons, Jillian Tanaki's

    is in many ways aesthetically magical (and especially at the beginning of

    , the interplay between Tanaki's lyrical free verse poetry and her accompanying illustrations is lyrically sweet, enchanting, almost song-like in scope and feel). However (and for me personally), there is just a bit too much of a visual emphasis on the little girl, on the young narrator of

    , and wit

    Now for basically a concept book on colours, nature and the seasons, Jillian Tanaki's

    is in many ways aesthetically magical (and especially at the beginning of

    , the interplay between Tanaki's lyrical free verse poetry and her accompanying illustrations is lyrically sweet, enchanting, almost song-like in scope and feel). However (and for me personally), there is just a bit too much of a visual emphasis on the little girl, on the young narrator of

    , and with that I mean, I definitely would much prefer to ONLY see colours and depictions of nature, to actually not have ANY visual representations of human figures at all included in

    . For to and for me at least, especially the continually depicted and shown little girl, as well as the spreads where multiple images of ONLY human beings are shown, I feel that this kind of pushes the narrative, Tanaki's poetic words into the background a bit and that the delightfully poetic and caressing textual images of colours, of nature, of seasonal changes are actually even a trifle lessened and rendered somewhat pale and lifeless by those spreads which portray mostly illustrated human masses (and indeed, that image of the little girl turning into a tree is really too strange and fairy tale like to work with a basically realistic although imaginative poetical narrative on seasons, colours and the wheel of nature). Four stars for Jillian Tamaki's poetry and for how she illustratively uses colour and light, how she depicts environmental, seasonal and natural images, but the fact that I really aesthetically do not all that much enjoy the pictorial emphasis on the narrator of

    , this does indeed make my average ranking but three stars, as on a personal level, there are just too many human beings depicted, considering that the text of

    mostly concentrates on colours and on natural, non human images.

  • David Schaafsma

    Each year my family reads all the Goodreads-award-nominated picture books, and we have been doing this for years. Everyone rates each book and adds a comment and it may (or may not) affect my overall rating. This is book #4 of 2018.

    Lyra (11): 3.5 stars. I like the color and how you can see what they are talking about. Beautiful book.

    Hank (12): 1.5 stars. Not good.

    Harry (13): 4 stars. I love the art and it's very poetic.

    Tara: 3 stars. I like the color contrasts and all the vibrant colors.

    Dave: 3

    Each year my family reads all the Goodreads-award-nominated picture books, and we have been doing this for years. Everyone rates each book and adds a comment and it may (or may not) affect my overall rating. This is book #4 of 2018.

    Lyra (11): 3.5 stars. I like the color and how you can see what they are talking about. Beautiful book.

    Hank (12): 1.5 stars. Not good.

    Harry (13): 4 stars. I love the art and it's very poetic.

    Tara: 3 stars. I like the color contrasts and all the vibrant colors.

    Dave: 3.5 stars. A kind of meandering meditation on color, growth, seasons. I love all the color and movement in the illustration. It's not a story, but so what? I like the page where the kid is sprouting like a tree. It lacks focus, one image leads to another image to another image, which is what I mean by "meandering," above, but it's the art that stands out.

  • M. Lauritano

    In a deliberate shift towards a child friendly art style, Jillian Tamaki has made a book filled with sensuous illustrations structured by a progression of colors. Unfortunately, the text doesn’t live up to her artistic prowess. It is absent of anything like a story, which might not have been a problem if the book had been subtitled “a poem” or if she had completely abandoned the notion of a consistent character that suggests a narrative trajectory. Instead, readers are left to wade through a ser

    In a deliberate shift towards a child friendly art style, Jillian Tamaki has made a book filled with sensuous illustrations structured by a progression of colors. Unfortunately, the text doesn’t live up to her artistic prowess. It is absent of anything like a story, which might not have been a problem if the book had been subtitled “a poem” or if she had completely abandoned the notion of a consistent character that suggests a narrative trajectory. Instead, readers are left to wade through a series of quasi-poetic observations that don’t amount to a lasting memorable meaning. Jillian Tamaki has certainly proven herself as a capable and witty storyteller with works geared at older readers. Where did that version of her disappear to in the text of this book?

  • Allison

    Am I missing something?? The art is beautiful. The beginning was wonderful, but the text and story (if you can call it that) are terrible! I thought it was unfocused, disjointed and too long.

    The beginning starts out so nicely: blue sky, blue water...except when you look at water in your hand! Then it's clear and it sparkles in the sun! This is how the rest of it goes: A field looks like an ocean. I wonder if I could sail on it. Storm, nevermind. It's cold. Now it's warm. I'm a tree. It's summer

    Am I missing something?? The art is beautiful. The beginning was wonderful, but the text and story (if you can call it that) are terrible! I thought it was unfocused, disjointed and too long.

    The beginning starts out so nicely: blue sky, blue water...except when you look at water in your hand! Then it's clear and it sparkles in the sun! This is how the rest of it goes: A field looks like an ocean. I wonder if I could sail on it. Storm, nevermind. It's cold. Now it's warm. I'm a tree. It's summer, fall, winter. My hair is black and my mom braids it as we look out the window. Crows.

    I have read wonderful books about mindfulness, childhood wonder, colors, seasons, etc. This is not it. It's a random collection of musings on a half dozen different subjects, with no real structure or point. But yes, gorgeous illustrations.

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