Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Review - Red Yellow Blue

Red Yellow Blue
by Lysa Mullady
illustrated by Laurent Simon
Date: 2019
Publisher: Magination Press
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: e-book
Source: NetGalley

Red loves being red! Apples, wagons, fire trucks -- he thinks all the best things are red! Yellow admires Red's roses, but Red just wants to be left to mind his own business -- why can't Yellow mind hers?

But when Yellow and Blue go off to make frogs, shamrocks, and caterpillars, Red realizes that he may be missing out. The possibilities are endless when the colors work together!

Includes a Note to Parents and Caregivers with more information on encouraging empathy and cooperation.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

This is a fairly decent story about cooperation, kindness, and saying you're sorry.

Red is so caught up in the wonderfulness of being red that he barely acknowledges the other primary colours, Yellow and Blue. So, while he's admiring all things red all by himself, Yellow and Blue work happily together to create green things. Eventually, though, Red gets lonely. He realizes he needs to apologize for what he said to Yellow. Yellow forgives him, and the three colours work together to create something beautiful.

I don't really have a problem with the story or the illustrations. Both are simple, but effective. What kind of brought down the overall enjoyment of the book for me was the inclusion of the Note to Parents and Caregivers at the end. I realize now that Magination Press is an arm of the American Psychological Association, which may be why there's such a long-winded note (it's two-and-a-half pages in tiny print). Still, I don't like these notes in picture books as a general rule, especially when they go about explaining what the story is supposed to mean. If that's not evident from the story itself, explaining it to adults in a note at the end isn't really going to help. In addition, this note rambles on about self-esteem, finding purpose in putting your clothes in the hamper, and a strange notion of forgiveness:

Simply put, we forgive others so that they will forgive us when we make mistakes.

That's very simplistic, not at all realistic, and a rather selfish way of looking at what should be a generous concept. I can just see children demanding forgiveness from their parents with a cry of, "You have to forgive me for killing the hamster! I forgave you for forgetting to put the fruit snacks in my lunch bag!" This tit-for-tat mentality might work for toddlers, but since the note emphasizes teaching children skills that will help them as they grow, this statement is kind of puzzling.

Anyway, aside from the note (which is unnecessary), this is a fairly well-written story about three colours who learn that their value in working together is just as important as their value as individuals. It also teaches a little bit about colour theory, although that could've been taken a little further (we never do learn what happens when Red and Blue work together).

Thank you to NetGalley and Magination Press for providing a digital ARC.

Premise: 3/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 4/5
Illustrations: 3/5
Originality: 4/5

Enjoyment: 3/5

Overall: 3.33 out of 5

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