Wednesday, 17 June 2009

The Great Blueness and other predicaments by Arnold Lobel

My most favourite book!
I think I should explain - it's not a book most people would have heard about. When I was very young, in the early 1970s, my mum borrowed this book from the public library for me. I just loved the story and pictures. Then, for years - I tried to find it again but had no idea what the book was called, or who it was by (as a 5 year old I probably never thought about such matters).

I searched second hand bookshops and libraries, but never got close. Eventually, when ' going online' became available, I found a site called booksleuth that helps people find long lost books. I posted my very vague memories, and as if by magic, someone suggested it might be by one of the Lobels. With that clue, my work was easy, and I found it! I was ecstatic!

I ordered a first edition from the US (outrageously expensive but worth every penny) and when it arrived - all the memories came flooding back....

The story is about a world that is black, white and grey. One day the Wizard mixed up something strange... blue. He painted everything blue, and at first it was a wonderful change from the grey. But eventually the blue made everyone... blue. So he mixed up some yellow instead. That was wonderfully cheerful, but soon began to hurt the people's eyes. He mixed up some red, which was glorious to begin with, but then made everyone angry. The Wizard was in despair, but by accident the colours he had made overflowed and mixed up - creating new colours - a happy end.

So - if you are looking for a long lost title - try booksleuth (there is a forum on and one on and you might just get lucky - or be able to help someone else with their quest.

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