Saturday, May 2, 2009


As a former teacher of young children, who always had a project up her sleeve, I thought that Emmy and I would be doing projects constantly. Sadly, that has not been the case. Days seem to go by without even a crayon being taken out of the box. Well, that is going to change! I know that allowing Emmy the opportunity to work with lots of art materials is a must and I am on a mission to do a project, if not every day, then every other day.

Recently, Emmy's Daddy came across a very simple science experiment that got all of us talking about color. Using milk, food coloring, dish soap and cotton swabs, we got some first hand experience with color mixing. Here's just how simple this project is: pour milk onto a plate, squirt small puddles of red, yellow and blue food coloring (separately) into the center of the dish. Take a cotton swab and dip it into the dish soap. Now, dab the cotton swab into each color puddle and watch the colors swirl! Oh, Emmy thought she was a color magician.

This experiment got me thinking about books that discuss more than just objects of a certain color. The first book that came to mind was Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh. Walsh cleverly introduces her readers to the subject of colors using her adorably illustrated white mice. When these three mice discover three jars of paint - one red, one yellow and one blue - each climbs right in. The red mouse stumbles onto a surprise when he finds out that if he steps in a yellow puddle and does a little dance, his paint puddle turns orange. The other two mice follow suit creating paint puddles of green and purple. But when a cat approaches, the three mice quickly return to their original white color and hide among the white paper. It's no wonder that this creative book has won several children's book awards.

Another book to come to mind is Color Dance by Ann Jonas. This book is a joyful celebration of color and movement with the primary colors - red, blue and yellow - being showcased beautifully by three dancers holding scarves. As the dancers begin to move, the primary colors blend together to create secondary colors - green, orange and purple - as well as tertiary colors - yellow orange, blue violet, blue green, etc. With minimal text, Jonas allows the concept of color to come across vividly through her illustrations. A color wheel at the end of the book completes the conceptual design.

And finally, Little Blue and Little Yellow by Leo Lionni is another wonderful book that not only shows the color process, but also allows a glimpse into an endearing friendship. Little Blue and Little Yellow are best friends, but one day they can’t find each other. When they finally do, they give each other such a big hug that they turn green! How they find their true colors again concludes a wonderfully satisfying story told with colorful pieces of torn paper and very few words. First published in 1959, this classic book is being celebrated with a 50th-anniversary edition, to be released in October 2009, that includes Lionni’s own explanation about how the book came to be. Using torn pieces of paper, Lionni created the story of Little Blue and Little Yellow to help pass the time on a dull train trip with his very young grandchildren. I was introduced to Lionni's books by a very dear friend of mine and as such each of his heartwarming stories holds a special place in my heart that I hope will also find a place in Emmy's heart.

With these three books checked out of the local library, I am ready to continue the study of color with Emmy!

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