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Lemons Are Not Red

Lemons Are Not Red

4.8 5
by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

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Lemons are not Red. Apples are red. Lemons are yellow. . . .

Clever cutouts in the pages make a simple, original, and utterly beguiling introduction to color.

Laura Vaccaro Seeger, whose The Hidden Alphabet dazzled critics and readers alike, introduces young children to color in this unique concept book with die cuts. The opening spread


Lemons are not Red. Apples are red. Lemons are yellow. . . .

Clever cutouts in the pages make a simple, original, and utterly beguiling introduction to color.

Laura Vaccaro Seeger, whose The Hidden Alphabet dazzled critics and readers alike, introduces young children to color in this unique concept book with die cuts. The opening spread features a big, bright red lemon and the simple text, "Lemons are not RED." When the spread is turned an equally bright yellow lemon appears ("Lemons are YELLOW") across from a luscious red apple ("Apples are RED").

And so it goes, from carrots that are not purple through reindeer that are not white, et al. The book ends with "The moon is not BLACK / The moon is SILVER / The night is BLACK / Good night! And the reader sees a tranquil night landscape and a house with the lights turned out.

This title has Common Core connections.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“This creatively designed volume combines an introduction to colors with a bedtime story” —Booklist

“Vaccaro once more delivers a compositionally faultless primer.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

“The creator of The Hidden Alphabet (Roaring Brook, 2003) offers another visual treat.... Illustrated with richly colored yet simple oil paintings, this offering will delight preschoolers.” —School Library Journal

“The heavy paper should stand up to multiple readings and pokings.... the colors and textures are nearly edible.” —Horn Book

“Seeger has done marvelous things with her brushwork, from impasto to shimmering smoothness...Clever, imaginative, and utterly beguiling.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Cleverly designed concept book uses brilliant colors and die-cuts.” —American Library Association

“Kids will adore righting the wrongs of carrots painted purple and flamingos gone gray.” —Child Magazine Best Book of 2004

“Artfully placed and shaped die-cuts lead toddlers into an interactive world of bright colors.” —New York Public Library Best Book for Giving and Sharing, 2004

Publishers Weekly
Having expertly explored letters in The Hidden Alphabet, Seeger now turns her attention to colors, again using die-cuts to great effect, neatly revealing objects with correct and incorrect hues. The book begins with the title statement (the line is reused with different objects and colors throughout) on a yellow spread; a die-cut opening in a lemon shape, on the right, allows the red hue below to show through. When readers turn the page, they discover that the red shade is part of an apple, while the die-cut lemon shape, now on the left, appears in its proper yellow, from the previous spread ("Lemons are yellow/ Apples are red"). The heavy brushstrokes that Seeger applies to the backgrounds and objects add pleasingly tactile textures to the otherwise simple, cutout shapes. Other color pairs show a gray flamingo that turns its proper pink next to an elephant's profile, and blue grass (of the non-twangy variety) that becomes green next to a cloud-swept blue sky. After revealing the moon to be silver and the night to be black in the penultimate scene, the light of a die-cut window in a small country cottage goes dark as readers turn the page and the text bids them "Good night!" Vaccaro once more delivers a compositionally faultless primer. Ages 2-5. (Oct.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
With the vast selection of children's books on the market today that focus on teaching kids their primary colors, it may seem hard to believe that anyone could come up with a fresh twist on such an old theme. That, however, is exactly what Laura Vaccaro Seeger has done. Following in the same tradition as her previous book, The Hidden Alphabet, this contribution has also been named an ALA Notable Book. This honor comes as no surprise as this delightful, wonderfully illustrated book is fun and engaging. Her use of color and artistic design includes paper cutouts of various objects to first show the reader what color objects are not (such as "lemons are not red") and then, with a turn of page, the color they actually are ("lemons are yellow"). Children will love having this book read to them, particularly at bedtime. Overall, it is a great book to give, and it is a must-have for any collection. 2004, Roaring Brook Press, Ages 2 to 5.
—Sheree Van Vreede
Kirkus Reviews
A few words, a handful of brilliant colors and a bewitching idea will enchant the youngest of book lovers and their resident grownups, as did Seeger's Hidden Alphabet (2003). "Lemons are not RED," proclaims the text, as emphatically as any three-year-old, except that the die-cut shape of a lemon on the page appears, quite clearly, to be red. But when the page is turned, and the text "Lemons are YELLOW" appears, the die-cut shape displays the proper, enticing yellow. The following page pronounces, "Apples are RED," and displays a shapely, luscious specimen. Carrots aren't purple, flamingoes aren't gray, and grass is not blue; each cut-out displays the wrong color and then rights itself. Seeger has done marvelous things with her brushwork, from impasto to shimmering smoothness, so that the color values are emphasized by texture. Clever, imaginative, and utterly beguiling. (Picture book. 3-7)
Children's Literature - Vicki Foote
The first pages, both in all yellow, state “Lemons are not red.” A cutout of a lemon shape shows a red lemon, but turning the page, the “red” turns out to be a big red apple. The lemon cutout now shows as yellow, since the yellow from the previous page is showing through. The next two pages are all orange, and there is a cutout of a carrot that appears purple. It says that carrots are not purple, and upon turning the page, the reader sees that, indeed, carrots are orange, and the purple was really an eggplant. Then there are two pink pages with a gray flamingo cutout, and upon turning the page it becomes a pink flamingo and a gray elephant. The same effect is used with white and brown, showing a reindeer and a snowman, blue and green with grass and the sky, and black and silver with the moon and night. The last page says, “Good night!” in a scene with the night sky, a sleeping dog, and the house with a dark window. The illustrations are big and bold, and the colors are vibrant. This simple concept book is a charming device for teaching colors to young children. They will enjoy turning the pages to find the real colors of the subjects. This title also makes a good bedtime book with its amusing and calm narrative. Reviewer: Vicki Foote; Ages 2 to 4.

Product Details

Square Fish
Publication date:
Edition description:
First Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
7.98(w) x 8.51(h) x 0.15(d)
Age Range:
2 - 5 Years

Meet the Author

Laura Vaccaro Seeger has been called "the queen of the concept book by The Horn Book and is the winner of many awards including two Caldecott Honors, two Geisel Honors, and the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award. studiolvs.com

Raised on Long Island, New York, Seeger began drawing at two years old and never stopped. For as long as she remembers, she wanted to write picture books. She received her B.F.A. degree at the School of Fine Art and Design at SUNY Purchase in Westchester, New York, and then moved to Manhattan, where she worked as an animator, artist, and editor in the network television business.

Seeger lives in Rockville Centre, Long Island, with her husband, Chris, their two sons, Drew and Dylan, and their dog, Copper. She loves painting, surfing, tennis, playing the piano, and spending time with her family. She takes long walks at the beach every day and paints in her studio every night.

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Lemons Are Not Red (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
MomMT More than 1 year ago
My 4 year old loves this and my 8 year old love this book. Even my 2 year old likes to call out the colors. I take all books out of the library, but when I find I am taking the same book out over and over, I purchase it--this is one is a keeper
Guest More than 1 year ago
This author's books are just wonderful. I first discovered her with The Hidden Alphabet and have since purchased each and every one of her books. I find it difficult to pick a favorite. I keep a set at home and one in the classroom where I teach 25 eager-to-learn-and-read first graders. This book is simply beautiful. The art is gorgeous and the text is simple and to the point. And I love the way Seeger looks at what's NOT red, blue, orange, etc. A fresh new spin on a very necessary concept.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this book at least as much as my children, ages 2 and 4!! It is clever and imaginative, fun and educational. And it's absolutely beautiful. When I read it with my children, we almost always end up rolling on the floor with laughter as we argue about what's not red, yellow, blue, etc. I am familiar with this author's work and have just ordered her newest books as I await their arrival with excited enthusiasm!
Guest More than 1 year ago
simple, vibrant, nice - very well designed and very clever. My 2-year-old nephew really loves it! (Then again, he also likes to argue that lemons are red, but hey - he's having fun.)
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book contains gorgeous artwork while also teaching kids their colors. The simple text makes is a perfect read aloud for a toddler who is learning his/her colors! I LOVE this book, and so does my son!!! If you want to help your child learn their colors, but also want to expose them to GREAT books, pick this one up along with the two I listed below!