Friday, May 15, 2009

Yellow & Pink

Yellow & Pink
William Steig ~ Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1984

My son's last day of preschool has arrived, alas... I feel so unprepared for summer vacation. That said, I am off to pick him up here in a minute or two, so this will be short and sweet. William Steig. Love him 100% now. Mainly because he has the gift of weaving hugely adult themes into children's books. Themes like death, ugliness, evil... and - in this case - a sort of Waiting for Godotish tale of the meaning of life. Brilliant.

Two small figures of wood were lying out in the sun one day, on an old newspaper. One was short, fat, and painted pink; the other was straight, thin, and painted yellow. It was hot and quiet, and they were both wondering.

What follows is the hilarious and enlightening tale of two dolls contemplating their own existence. What are we doing here? Who are we? Where did we come from?

Pink looked Yellow over. He found Yellow's color, his well-chiseled head, his whole form admirable. "Someone must have made us," he said.

"How could anyone make something like me, so intricate, so perfect?" Yellow asked. "Or, for that matter, like you. And wouldn't we know who made us, since we had to be there when we got made?" "And why," Yellow added, "would he leave us like this--with no explanation. I say we're an accident, somehow or other we just happened.

Pink couldn't believe what he heard; he started laughing. "You mean these arms I can move this way and that, this head I can turn in any direction, this breathing nose, these walking feet, all of this just happened, by some kind of fluke? That's preposterous!"

Believe me, my four-year-old son and I have some form of this conversation every day. Gotta love the cosmic nature of youth's questions. Really, two thumbs up and a standing bravo on this one. (Oh too, Y&P is highly collectible and expensive to buy online... a great find if you can score at a Goodwill.)

Also by:
The Amazing Bone
Amos & Boris
Rotten Island
The Zabajaba Jungle
Gorky Rises
Tiffky Doofky
Father Palmer's Wagon Ride
Solomon the Rusty Nail


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Antmusic said...

I've seen this one on lists before, but I've never seen the cover. Thank you for talking about it on here and sharing the pics!

A lot of us have our favorite books that we loved as a child, and I am constantly searching for them to share with my kids. Some of those prices out there are SHOCKING!

Burgin Streetman said...

it is such a cool book.... i know. i was tempted to snatch it but my morality got the better of me.

Alison May said...

Oh my I have just found you and couldn't be more thrilled to have discovered oodles of babba-literary fabulousness...

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Hi and greetings from Melbourne Australia..I have been reading your blog for some time now and share many of your enthusiasms...William Steig is a great favourite of mine and Yellow and Pink is one of his best. I do relief teaching here in Melbourne and I have been reading this to children a lot recently it is brilliant for launching discussions about the BIG QUESTIONS...Bravo William Steig and thanks for the terrific blog
Nigel Lawrence

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