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A Color of His Own Board book – January 1, 2000

4.8 out of 5 stars 2,248 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Every animal has a color of its own. "Parrots are green, elephants are gray, pigs are pink." But chameleons change color wherever they go. "On lemons they are yellow. In the heather they are purple." One chameleon is not pleased with his changeable appearance. He thinks, "If I remain on a leaf, I shall be green forever, and so I too will have a color of my own." Of course, what he doesn't take into account is the changes wrought by autumn, and soon the green chameleon is yellow, then red, and then tumbled to the ground for the long black winter night. It isn't until he befriends another older, wiser chameleon that our hero begins to find inner peace, even as his outer surface is transformed again and again.

Leo Lionni, children's book creator extraordinaire, author of such beloved picture books as Frederick, Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse, Swimmy, and Inch by Inch, all Caldecott Honor winners, introduces color concepts in an exquisite and touching story. This small board book edition of the classic tale of self-acceptance and friendship will be a favorite for toddlers and parents alike. (Baby to preschool) --Emilie Coulter

Review

"Lionni's signature watercolors span the rainbow in this story of a chameleon who, while searching for his identity, finds a friend with whom he can share his changeable nature." —Publishers Weekly

"As captivating now as it was when first published in 1975." —
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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Random House (January 1, 2000)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Board book ‏ : ‎ 30 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0375810919
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0375810916
  • Reading age ‏ : ‎ 2 - 5 years
  • Lexile measure ‏ : ‎ 640L
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 9 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6.75 x 0.73 x 5.38 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.8 out of 5 stars 2,248 ratings

About the author

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author spotlight

“From time to time, from the endless flow of our mental imagery, there emerges unexpectedly something that, vague though it may be, seems to carry the promise of a form, a meaning, and, more important, an irresistible poetic charge.”—Leo Lionni

Leo Lionni wrote and illustrated more than 40 highly acclaimed children’s books. He received the 1984 American Institute of Graphic Arts Gold Medal and was a four-time Caldecott Honor Winner—for Inch by Inch, Frederick, Swimmy, and Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse. Leo Lionni died in October of 1999 at his home in Tuscany, Italy, at the age of 89.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

“Of all the questions I have been asked as an author of children’s books, the most frequent one, without doubt, has been ‘How do you get your ideas?’ Most people seem to think that getting an idea is both mysterious and simple. Mysterious, because inspiration must come from a particular state of grace with which only the most gifted souls are blessed. Simple, because ideas are expected to drop into one’s mind in words and pictures, ready to be transcribed and copied in the form of a book, complete with endpapers and cover. The word get expresses these expectations well. Yet nothing could be further from the truth.

“It is true that, from time to time, from the endless flow of our mental imagery, there emerges unexpectedly something that, vague though it may be, seems to carry the promise of a form, a meaning, and, more important, an irresistible poetic charge. The sense of instant recognition with which we pull this image into the full light of our consciousness is the initial impulse of all creative acts. But, though it is important, it produces no more than the germ of an idea. Each book, at the birth of its creative history, has such a moment. Some are fortunate enough to have, from the outset, a strongly identified hero, one with an inescapable destiny. Others are blessed with a promising beginning, or perhaps with the vision of an ending (which means working backwards to a surprise opening). Others stem from a clearly articulated conflict situation. Sometimes, I must admit, the motivations of a book may be found in a sudden, unreasonable urge to draw a certain kind of crocodile. And it may even happen that in the dark of our minds there appears, out of nowhere, a constellation of words that has the bright, arrogant solidity of a title. Only last night I was jolted out of a near-slumber by the words the mouse that didn’t exist. I am sure that, temporarily tucked away in my memory, they will eventually become the title of a story for which as yet I have no idea.

“To shape and sharpen the logic of a story, to tighten the flow of events, ultimately to define the idea in its totality, is much like a game of chess. In the light of overall strategy, each move is the result of doubts, proposals, and rejections, which inevitably bring to mind the successes or failures of previous experiences.

“Inspirational raptures may happen, but most books are shaped through hard, disciplined work. Creative work, to be sure, because its ingredients come from the sphere of the imaginary. But the manipulation of these ingredients requires much more than mere inclination or talent. It is an intricate process in which the idea slowly takes form, by trial and error, through detours and side roads, which, were it not for the guidance of professional rigor, would lead the author into an inextricable labyrinth of alternatives.

“And so, to the question ‘How do you get your ideas?’ I am tempted to answer, unromantic though it may sound, ‘Hard work.’ ”

Leo Lionni has gained international renown for his paintings, graphic designs, illustrations, and sculpture, as well as for his books for children. He was born in Holland in 1910 of Dutch parents, and although his education did not include formal art courses (in fact, he has a doctorate in economics from the University of Genoa), he spent much of his free time as a child in Amsterdam’s museums, teaching himself to draw.

Lionni’s business training gradually receded into the background as his interest in art and design grew. Having settled in Milan soon after his marriage in 1931, he started off by writing about European architecture for a local magazine. It was there that he met the contacts who were to give him a start as a professional graphic designer. When he moved to America in 1939, Lionni was hired by a Philadelphia advertising agency as art director. Later he became design director for the Olivetti Corporation of America, and then art director for Fortune magazine. At the same time, his reputation as an artist flourished as he began to exhibit his paintings and drawings in galleries from New York to Japan.

Lionni launched his career as an author/illustrator of books for children in 1959. Originally developed from a story he had improvised for his grandchildren during a dull train ride, Little Blue and LittleYellow was the first of what is now a long list of children’s picture books, including four Caldecott Honor Books.

Customer reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5
2,248 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on October 16, 2016
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2.0 out of 5 stars Board Book Buyers Beware
Reviewed in the United States on October 16, 2016
To be clear, the story is absolutely darling. This board book printing, however, is not.

As with another recent review, the colors on the copy I received are off and this is a book about colors, so it matters. There seems to be an (extreme) oversaturation of magenta and generally the color mix is off. Everything in the book that is not green, yellow, or black is wrong. Reds look neon, browns look burnt orange, and gray is burgundy. I have an older copy of the book and the colors are accurate so this is definitely a printing issue. Until Amazon runs through (or throws out) their current stock of A Color of His Own board books, I would steer clear.
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Reviewed in the United States on November 15, 2018
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Top reviews from other countries

Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Lovely story
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 31, 2020
M to the G
3.0 out of 5 stars Good book - not great
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 12, 2017
One person found this helpful
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Mrs. J. L. Dearlove
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 30, 2018
One person found this helpful
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fiona
5.0 out of 5 stars Brill for under 3's
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 23, 2016
Lisa
5.0 out of 5 stars A*
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 13, 2015
One person found this helpful
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