Little Blue and Little Yellow – Leo Lionni

POINTS: 2 out of 10.

Bechdel:  0 points
Variety of characters: 0 points
Good story: 2 points
Discretionary ideological points: 0 points

This is kind of a nifty little book which is, basically about colours and how they mix.

To address the criteria we’ve set out, it doesn’t pass the Bechdel, as the only characters who are explicitly female are Little Blue and Little Yellow’s mothers. Little Blue is gendered as male, Little Yellow isn’t gendered at all, but since we’re talking about blobs of colour this isn’t particularly surprising. I mean, it’s obviously doing the “default to male” thing a bit, but meh. So, no Bechdel, no diversity, but that’s not particularly bad in this context.

C and I both enjoyed it well enough. It’s a pretty cute little book that explores the basic idea of mixing primary colours to make secondary ones. Little Blue and Little Yellow hug and both turn green, and I suppose if you had a degree in narrative theory and were prone to over-thinking things (ahem) you could come up with some sort of interpretation to do with how, like, interacting with people makes you more like them and how your interactions always affect other people, and you become who you choose to be friends with and whatnot, but really at the end of the day, the point of this book seems to be that when you mix yellow and blue together you get green.

While it’s fun to over-analyse sometimes, I think in this case it’s thoroughly missing the point. So while this book scores pretty low on the scale we’ve set up, I actually think that’s more because it is in a completely different category. It is fiction and narrative of course, but it’s a bit like judging an encyclopedia on its plot – kind of ludicrous.

I like stories with some narrative meat, so while it was fun to read it won’t find its way onto my list of favourites, but that’s totally a personal taste thing. My five year old who is fascinated by mixing colours loved it.

So yeah, this one isn’t gonna damage your little darling’s psyche. 😉 It’s kind of fun. It works well for what it is.


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