They Say Blue

They Say Blue

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 beyond what she can see. The sea looks blue, yet water cupped in her hands is as clear as glass...

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Title:They Say Blue
Author:Jillian Tamaki
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They Say Blue Reviews

  • Christopher

    Here’s your first 2019 Caldecott contender.

  • Dani

    I LOVE this one more than words can say. To so fully capture the magic of both colours and childhood? Jillian, you're amazing.

  • Irena Freitas

    Tem umas composições tão lindas nas ilustrações desse livro que estou em prantos. Jillian Tamaki te amo!

  • 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 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.

  • 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.

  • Crystal

    Gorgeous!

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