Other Stuff Exists

Don't get too comfortable with the familiar–other stuff exists, so go explore!

Out of the Blue

Posted by Tracy Poff on June 15, 2012

Have you ever felt green with envy? Been tickled pink? Even if you only read picture books once in a blue moon, you might like Out of the Blue, written by Vanita Oelschlager, and illustrated by Robin Hegan.

Out of the Blue presents fifteen color-related idioms, each on a two-page spread with color illustrations. Upside-down, in the corner of the page, is an explanation of the meaning of the idiom, and an example sentence. The explanations are very clear (“If you show your true colors“, the book explains, “you show what you are really like inside.”) and the example sentences are helpful. Unfortunately, I didn’t find the illustrations to be quite up to par.

The illustrations are colorful and nice-looking, but they don’t always have any real relationship to the idiom being presented. For example, the illustration for show your true colors depicts five girls standing around wearing colorful socks. Of course, it’s the nature of idioms that the plain meaning of the words isn’t the same as the meaning of the expression, but some of the illustrations did much better: the illustration for born with a silver spoon in your mouth shows several babies wrapped in blankets, with pacifiers in their mouths, but with one baby wrapped in a blanket patterned with dollar signs, with a silver spoon it its mouth–thus illustrating a relationship between money and the silver spoon expression. Similarly, the illustration for green around the gills depicts a fish with a thermometer in its mouth with a green band around its gills.

Had the illustrations in general been more related to the meaning of the idioms, this could have been a really excellent book. As it stands, Out of the Blue is fun, but not spectacular.

Out of the Blue is published in both hardcover and paperback formats by Vanita Books. Net profits from the sale of Out of the Blue will be donated to charitable organizations.

This review is based on a free digital review copy of the book.


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