cover image They Say Blue

They Say Blue

Jillian Tamaki. Abrams, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4197-2851-8

A girl weighs what she’s been told about the world against what she observes and knows, leading to more questions and contemplations. Working in lush, watery acrylics, Tamaki (This One Summer) initially paints the girl on a windy beach. She admits that the sky and sea look blue at the moment: “But when I hold the water in my hands, it’s as clear as glass.” Just because something is visible doesn’t mean it’s true, the girl recognizes, and there’s truth in the invisible, too (“I don’t need to crack an egg to know it holds an orange yolk inside”). Color and nature—red blood, golden fields, a purple flower—serve as a through line in a story that takes a surreal leap when the girl throws off her winter layers, stretches, and grows into a tree, continuing her observations as the seasons pass. In a quiet conclusion, the girl (human once again) and her mother watch crows soar against a dawn sky that’s far from blue. Thinking, imagining, noticing—these, Tamaki suggests, are the tools we have to understand our world. Ages 5–7. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Mar.)