This is a children's book question... Do you know the title??
August 29, 2005 3:38 AM   Subscribe

When my sister and I were growing up, around 30 years ago, one of our all-time favorite picture books was about the trials and tribulations of a kingdom in black & white that wound up discovering colors, but we can't remember the title...

As I recall the tale, the kingdom was just in black & white originally, and everybody was bored... but then a travelling salesman came by and sold the king the color yellow. Everything's then painted yellow. It's a big hit, and everybody loves it! That is, until everybody starts getting blinding headaches.

So, when the king asks the salesman for help, the salesmen sells him blue. Everybody is so relieved when everything is now painted blue... that is, until everybody starts to get depressed.

This time, the salesman sells the king red, and everything in the kingdom gets painted that color, which really perks everybody up, until everybody starts getting angry at each other.

Then, in the melee that ensues, people start flinging paint at each other... but a marvelous thing happens! The colors start to mix and form new colors, and the king realizes that everything in the kingdom doesn't have to be just one color, or even just three, but rather can be an infinite variety of colors!

Does anybody have any idea what this book's called, or who its author might be????

posted by Misciel to Media & Arts (9 answers total)
Arnold Lobel, of Frog & Toad fame, wrote a book called "The Great Blueness and other predicaments -

"When a wizard discovered that each color he invented for the colorless world had a different emotional effect on people, he luckily had an accident which resulted in red apples, green leaves, and yellow bananas."

I probably won't get a cigar for that.
posted by icontemplate at 8:30 AM on August 29, 2005

I am having no luck with googling, but if you're willing to fork over two bucks, this might be a place to try.
posted by JanetLand at 8:33 AM on August 29, 2005

I don't think it's The Rainbow Goblins, but it could be.
posted by smackfu at 8:51 AM on August 29, 2005

Alternatively, if you're not willing to fork over two bucks, this is a place to try.

I've also had luck with the NYPL children's dept. Go to the web site and look around for the logical email contact (it's been a while for me). They know things....
posted by IndigoJones at 9:23 AM on August 29, 2005

It definitely isn't the Rainbow Goblins, and I don't think it's The Phantom Tollbooth, either, but I don't know what it is.
posted by exceptinsects at 9:30 AM on August 29, 2005

Are the people in the kingdom humans? Or are they some sort of anthropomorphised animals? If they aren't human then it sounds alot like a Serendipity book.
posted by smash at 9:55 AM on August 29, 2005

I second icontemplate's suggestion.

I read it when I was little, and I'm almost positive that it's "The Great Blueness".
posted by almostbarefoot at 10:34 AM on August 29, 2005

icontemplate is totally correct. Is this the cover? (I could only find a French edition image so the title might be different.)

I remember this book, too. Looking it up and stumbling into other Lobel titles like "Frog and Toad" and "Mouse Soup" made me really miss being a little kid.
posted by Jon-o at 10:40 PM on August 29, 2005

The following Amazon comment for The Great Blueness seems to match your description better:

An amazing book, July 10, 2005
Reviewer: N. Nelson (San Diego) -

This, I think, is my favorite children's book. I remember it all the way back from when I was a child, and I found one at a library to read to my 2 year old. It's about a wizard who lives in a gray world, and he mixes up the color blue in his workshop. Everyone in the village wants some, and they paint eveything blue. The illustartion of this spreads across both pages and is dense with detail of the villagers painting each other and all the animals. The blue color makes everyone sad after a while and so the wizard creates yellow. That brings it's own problems, as does red, and in the end the wizard accidentally mixes the colors to make the rest of the color palette. The illustrations of the medieval villagers is delightful and the story itself is unusual and well-told.
posted by icontemplate at 9:58 AM on August 30, 2005

« Older Identify this art movement   |   Are bicyclists athletes? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.