little blue and little yellow” is an adorable and imaginative book by Leo Lionni, one of the greatest children’s book authors ever. A couple of years ago, I read it for the first time (I was 22?) while working at a pre-preschool called Discovery Programs on the Upper West Side. I have often said that the most stimulating, enjoyable, and thought-provoking jobs I’ve held to date have always been “kid jobs,” particularly when the kids are of toddler and preschool age. I read this book to some children, and fell in love with the story; the back cover reads, “Little blue and little yellow share wonderful adventures. One day, they can’t find one another. When they finally meet, they are overjoyed. They hug until they become green. But where did little blue and little yellow go? Are they lost?”


The illustrations are as simple as those on the cover, above; I decided to buy the book for Ian, because his favorite color is yellow and mine is blue, and also because, early on, I liked reading him favorite children’s stories and talking about what our parents read to us. Fast forward a little less than two years later to an Ian who is frustrated by something, sitting on the bed. Trying to think of something to cheer him up, my eyes are drawn to the bag of colorful pompoms on the floor, next to my large craft stash. Little blue and little yellow, I think! I find a blue and yellow one, and suddenly, they lighten the mood; they also become permanent fixtures on Ian’s dresser, always sitting right next to each other, refusing to be separated.

When Ian leaves for the Outer Banks, a few days before me, little blue and little yellow reluctantly say good-bye, and little blue goes off with Ian, and I keep my little yellow/Ian on the night stand. One of the saddest moments ever is when I forget to take little yellow to the Outer Banks, and immediately upon reuniting with Ian, he pulls out little blue from his pocket with that loving look in his eyes, and says “she’s been with me the whole time!” I cry and never forgive myself for forgetting. 🙁

But alas, Ian leaves for Budapest for two weeks soon after we return from the beach. Little blue and little yellow become even more permanent fixtures for both of us, little blue travelling in Ian’s pocket, looking out a Budapest apartment window, and sleeping on his nightstand at night. Little yellow accompanies me via pocket when possible, but often resides in my bag (on pocketless skirt days), or tightly in my hand when I’m really missing *someone*, or when I was in the hospital. Little yellow even got to witness one of the worst blood-drawings I’ve ever experienced.

“Hey, is that little blue on your arm?,” asks little yellow.


Unfortunately, no. The real little blue was busy in Budapest, hearing a different language, seeing new sights, putting in long work days with Ian, and generally being adventurous. Little yellow was trying to do the same back in Brooklyn, but he’s more timid and reserved than little blue and prefers to stay right next to me, safe and sound. Little yellow was happy and then confused when Ian sent a picture of little blue in front of a mirror, because as close as little yellow could get to the computer screen, he still couldn’t feel soft little blue.


And why was little blue so BIG? Little yellow knew it was the same little blue though, because they “talked” on the phone a few times. They rubbed back and forth on the speaker part and made little blue and little yellow sounds that probably meant “I love you” and “I miss you.” Again, it was difficult to feel so close, and yet be so painfully far away.

Little yellow reluctantly came out one night at a restaurant to see what everyone was up to:


At another dinner out, little yellow was interested in my crepe, maybe because of the lemon that sort of resembled him?


Soon after the encounter with the crepe, he rolled off the table and there was some momentary panic. Back into my pocket he went!

I didn’t want little yellow to feel like little blue was having all the fun abroad, however, so I decided to take him to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. “Is little blue there?,” he asked. Awww, little yellow, little blue is coming back soon. Maybe we can take some pictures of you being adventurous and you can tell her lots of stories upon her return? “Nothing is as fun without little blue, but I guess the garden might be nice.”

Before even entering the garden, little yellow saw something large, shiny, and bright yellow like him!


Then, the wind blew him onto the ground, almost in a car’s path; he didn’t like that too much, but I told him there wouldn’t be any more cars once we crossed the threshold into the garden.

He stumbled upon something small and green, almost the same size as him, and it reminded him of the time that he and little blue hugged so hard that they turned green!


But, this was just an acorn. Still, the Japanese Garden and pond was pretty nice.

Little yellow was surprised at how many things resembled himself out in the real world. Some were yellow and some were round!


“These are a little pinchy, but look Alicia, I stick to them!”


“This flower isn’t round, but it IS yellow!”


“Look! It says Dwarf Blue! Like little blue! It isn’t little blue though. Gosh, I miss little blue.”

I know, little yellow, me too. Me too. Let’s go look for some more fun things? You know what’s really fun? Really big leaves!



“What are the chances that there would be a little leaf, just my size, on top of the big leaf? I bet little blue would like this too, because she always likes either really little, undersized things, or really big, oversized things.”

Hey little yellow, look at all these colors over here!


“Hey, can you find me???”

Awww, little yellow, I know you miss little blue…


Why don’t we go to the gift shop?


Just like Ian, little yellow is naturally attracted to the word “organic.” Or maybe it’s because part of that book is blue on back?

Not long after the visit to the garden, little blue was on her way home! Little yellow was anxious and stayed on top of the bed comforter the day little blue was flying across the ocean. He didn’t want to be forgotten! Little yellow made me clean off all the pocket lint that clung to him from days and days in pockets and purses because he wanted to look his best for his little blue. The minutes went by and suddenly it was time to venture down to the train station and reunite!

And reunite they did, of course, and after they both returned to the Brooklyn apartment where they were basically born, they took up residence on Ian’s dresser, sitting extra close to one another and catching up. As exciting as it was to reunite and exchange adventure stories, they vowed never to spend two weeks apart ever again.