Yesterday I Had the Blues

Overview

Ever had the blues? Yesterday one boy had them bad—not just the ordinary blues, the "deep down in my shoes" blues, the "go away Mr. Sun quit smilin' at me" blues. But today he's traded in those blues for greens, the "runnin' my hands along the hedges" greens, the kind of greens that make him want to be Somebody.

With text that begs to be read aloud, and bold, colorful paintings, this book will have readers big and small pondering the spectrum ...

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Overview

Ever had the blues? Yesterday one boy had them bad—not just the ordinary blues, the "deep down in my shoes" blues, the "go away Mr. Sun quit smilin' at me" blues. But today he's traded in those blues for greens, the "runnin' my hands along the hedges" greens, the kind of greens that make him want to be Somebody.

With text that begs to be read aloud, and bold, colorful paintings, this book will have readers big and small pondering the spectrum of moods and how they can change from day to day.

A young boy ponders a variety of emotions and how different members of his family experience them, from his own blues to his father's grays and his grandmother's yellows.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
• Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award
Nick Jr. Family Magazine Best Book of the Year
• Claudia Lewis Award —Bank Street College of Education
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books 2003 Blue Ribbon
• 2004 Best of the Best List—Chicago Public Library
• 2004 Carolyn W. Field Award Honor Book—Pennsylvania Library Association
• Featured on the PBS/WGBH show “Between the Lions”

“Debut author Frame and consistently masterful Christie riff on the range of human emotions with the agility of longtime collaborators, and the result is a book that truly sings.” –Publishers Weekly

“Readers and listeners alike will enthusiastically respond to this book and instantly identify with the sentiments expressed.” –School Library Journal

“This is a dramatic partnership of text and images with strong curricular uses, and it will give young readers and listeners a simple way to express feelings and emotions that may often leave them wordless.” –Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

Publishers Weekly
In this upbeat tale, moods may color the way people look at the world, but family togetherness trumps all. Debut author Frame and the consistently masterful Christie (Only Passing Through) riff on the range of human emotions with the agility of longtime collaborators, and the result is a book that truly sings. "Yesterday I had the blues," begins the African-American boy narrator. "Those deep down in my shoes blues,the go away, Mr. Sun, quit smilin' at me blues." But today is definitely looking up. "I got the greens. The runnin' my hand along the hedges greens. ... The kind of greens make you want to be Somebody." Jaunty, irregular typography acts as tempo and dynamic markings, underscoring the musicality of Frame's text. The boy then muses on the states of mind of everyone in his family, a subject well suited to Christie's visual finesse. The artist's off-kilter perspectives and playfully skewed proportions reinforce the intensity and fluidity of mood swings, while the array of saturated, textured hues infuse each spread with emotional depth. Christie attributes Daddy's case of "the grays" to a parking ticket, older sister Tania performs her "indigo" funk to the hilt. Other moods will be all too recognizable to readers (when Mama spots her younger children bouncing on the bed, she gets the reds"Look out!"). It's clear that in this family, even when moods are mercurial, love enduresand that, says the boy, makes life "all golden." Ages 4-8. (Sept.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
If people can have the blues, why can't they have the reds or greens or oranges? Why, there's no reason at all, as a young boy discovers in this story about moods and feelings. One day he feels the blues, not the blues like "the broken skate board blues" or the "Monday morning" blues but the "go away, Mr. Sun, quit smilin' at him" blues. The next day he has the "make you want to be Somebody" greens and he hopes that he'll get the silvers. "The rocket-powered skateboard silvers!" Then his dad has "the lines between his eyes" grays, his sister has the "ballet after school" pinks and his friend has the "hair hangin' loose" indigos. Gramma's got the yellows, which is fine because that might mean she'll make raisin cookies but uh-oh, Mama's got the reds and that's never good. A fast moving book bursting with color and ending nicely, because the boy's family makes him feel "golden." 2003, Tricycle Press/Ten Speed Press, Ages 4 to 8.
— Carolyn Mott Ford
School Library Journal
Gr 1-4-From his own "blues" to Gram's cheery "yellows" to Mama's "reds" ("Look out!"), a young boy describes the ever-changing moods of the people he loves, divulging that no matter what, his family always makes him feel "like it's all golden." Dynamic paintings in vivid hues reflect each emotional nuance. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A young African-American boy uses the blues as a springboard to explore both his emotions and those of his family in this perfectly agreeable picture book. Using bluesy rhythms, newcomer Frame employs concrete language to create fresh, immediate images: "[I had the] hold a pillow, / wish it was tomorrow blues. / The kind of blues / make you wanna just / turn / down / the / volume." Christie's raw, expressive acrylic-and-gouache paintings place almost childishly rendered figures against deeply saturated full-bleed backgrounds, amplifying every emotional erg of the text. Modulating from yesterday's blues to today's greens, his father's grays, mother's reds, and sisters' pinks and indigos, the boy concludes that he's got "the kind of family makes you feel / like it's / all / golden." While extending the color metaphor nicely, this cheery conclusion does not do enough to incorporate the more negative grays and reds of his parents-nevertheless, the mood/color equation is one familiar to children-and this interpretation will strike a chord with its audience. (Picture book. 5-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781582462608
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 9/28/2008
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 270,005
  • Age range: 3 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.30 (w) x 10.80 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author

JERON ASHFORD FRAME was given the Ezra Jack Keats New Writer award for this lovely, imaginative, text. She lives near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with her family.

R. GREGORY CHRISTIE is a three-time recipient of the American Library Association's Corretta Scott King Award honor and illustrator of Tricycle Press' A CHANCE TO SHINE. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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