Title: A Color of His Own
Author: Leo Lionni
First published January 1, 1975
40 pages, Hardcover
ISBN: 9780375836978 (ISBN10: 0375836977)
In Leo Lionni’s charming tale, A Color of His Own, we meet a chameleon who longs for a color to call his own. As he travels through the jungle, he changes to match the colors of his surroundings, never feeling quite at home.
But when he meets another chameleon who shares his uncertainty, they embark on a journey together and discover the true value of friendship. With beautiful illustrations and a heartwarming message, A Color of His Own is a must-read for children and adults alike.
About the Author
Leo Lionni was a prolific author and illustrator of over 40 children’s books that garnered critical acclaim. His work earned him the American Institute of Graphic Arts Gold Medal in 1984, and he was a four-time Caldecott Honor Winner for Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse, Swimmy, Inch by Inch, and Frederick.
Lionni passed away in Tuscany, Italy in 1999 at the age of 89.
Lionni’s legacy extends beyond his children’s books. He was an artist, designer, and sculptor who gained international recognition for his work.
Although he was born in Holland to Dutch parents in 1910, Lionni did not receive formal art education. Instead, he spent his childhood teaching himself how to draw by visiting Amsterdam’s museums.
Lionni’s passion for art and design eventually took over, and he moved to Milan after his marriage in 1931. There, he started writing about European architecture for a local magazine and met people who helped him launch his career as a graphic designer.
Lionni moved to the United States in 1939 and worked as an art director for a Philadelphia advertising agency before becoming the design director for the Olivetti Corporation of America and later the art director for Fortune magazine. During this time, he also exhibited his paintings and drawings in galleries worldwide.
Lionni’s career as an author and illustrator of children’s books began in 1959 with Little Blue and Little Yellow, a story he had improvised for his grandchildren during a train ride. His success in this field led to a long list of children’s picture books, four of which received Caldecott Honors.
Leo Lionni’s “A Color of His Own” is a delightful children’s picture book first published in 1975. Lionni, widely recognized as an author and illustrator of children’s books, is a Caldecott Medal winner and his works have been enjoyed by multiple generations of young readers.
The book explores the theme of identity and friendship through the story of a chameleon who is envious of the other animals’ permanent color while he is always changing color to blend in. The chameleon sets out on an adventurous journey to find his own color, but after several attempts, he realizes that home is where his true color belongs.
The simple yet heartwarming tale is beautifully illustrated with Lionni’s signature collage style and charming characters. While the story may seem straightforward, it holds a significant message about finding oneself and accepting differences in others.
The chameleon’s journey is relatable to anyone who has struggled with identity issues or felt out of place. The book also subtly teaches children about colors and the importance of individuality.
The strengths of the book are its simple yet captivating narrative, imaginative illustrations, and underlying message. It is a perfect read-aloud choice for parents and teachers, and the illustrations are sure to capture the attention of young readers.
Perhaps the only weakness of the book is that the narrative may be too simplistic for older children or adult readers who are used to more complex characters and plots. However, this does not detract from the book’s overall appeal to its intended audience.
Overall, “A Color of His Own” is a timeless classic that deserves its status as a children’s literature classic. Lionni’s unique style and storytelling skill make this book stand out from other children’s books and its message of acceptance and friendship makes it a great choice for any young reader.
We highly recommend it and give it a score of 4 out of 5 stars.