OVERRIDE

Lemons Are Not Red

Laura Vaccaro Seeger, illustrated by the author

Roaring Brook Press

Lemons are not Red. Apples are red. Lemons are yellow. . . .

Clever cutouts in the pages make a simple, original, and utterly beguiling introduction to color.

Laura Vaccaro Seeger, whose The Hidden Alphabet dazzled critics and readers alike, introduces young children to color in this unique concept book with die cuts. The opening spread features a big, bright red lemon and the simple text, "Lemons are not RED." When the spread is turned an equally bright yellow lemon appears ("Lemons are YELLOW") across from a luscious red apple ("Apples are RED").

And so it goes, from carrots that are not purple through reindeer that are not white, et al. The book ends with "The moon is not BLACK / The moon is SILVER / The night is BLACK / Good night! And the reader sees a tranquil night landscape and a house with the lights turned out.

REVIEWS

Praise for Lemons Are Not Red

Booklist
 
PreS-Gr. 2. This creatively designed volume combines an introduction to colors with a bedtime story. Cutouts of various items, such as a lemon, a carrot, and a flamingo, show through to the next page, revealing colors these objects are not. Simple, repetitive text provides the names of the items and colors: "Lemons are not red," "Carrots are not purple," and so on. When the page is turned, an object of the correct color is now revealed, for example, a bright-red apple. Backgrounds show textured brushstrokes of thick paint, which contrast nicely with the flat style of the cutouts. There's no cutout at the book's end, just an outlined slice of moon: "The moon is not black / The moon is silver / The night is black / Good night." 
 
Publishers Weekly, starred review
 
Having expertly explored letters in The Hidden Alphabet, Seeger now turns her attention to colors, again using die-cuts to great effect, neatly revealing objects with correct and incorrect hues. The book begins with the title statement (the line is reused with different objects and colors throughout) on a yellow spread; a die-cut opening in a lemon shape, on the right, allows the red hue below to show through. When readers turn the page, they discover that the red shade is part of an apple, while the die-cut lemon shape, now on the left, appears in its proper yellow, from the previous spread ("Lemons are yellow / Apples are red "). The heavy brushstrokes that Seeger applies to the backgrounds and objects add pleasingly tactile textures to the otherwise simple, cutout shapes. Other color pairs show a gray flamingo that turns its proper pink next to an elephant's profile, and blue grass (of the non-twangy variety) that becomes green next to a cloud-swept blue sky. After revealing the moon to be silver and the night to be black in the penultimate scene, the light of a die-cut window in a small country cottage goes dark as readers turn the page and the text bids them "Good night!" Vaccaro once more delivers a compositionally faultless primer. Ages 2-5.
 
School Library Journal
 
PreS–The creator of The Hidden Alphabet (Roaring Brook, 2003) offers another visual treat. The text is appropriately spare. The first spread reads, "Lemons are not/ RED." The word "RED" appears on a bright yellow page beneath the die-cut shape of a lemon with a red background showing through. When the page is turned, the die-cut shape falls on the correct yellow background, with the words "Lemons are YELLOW" underneath. The red background of the facing page is revealed to be an apple, with the phrase, "Apples are RED." This framework continues throughout the book, and children will quickly catch on and join in the visual game. The paired objects are related, which gives the text an internal consistency. However, the choices never become predictable, so a sense of surprise is always maintained. For example, Seeger couples reindeer with snowmen, flamingos with elephants, and the moon with the night sky. Illustrated with richly colored yet simple oil paintings, this offering will delight preschoolers.–
 
Horn Book
 
"Lemons are not RED" begins this simple concept book. But there, showing through a die-cut on the right-hand side of the spread, is a red lemon. What gives? As any three-year-old knows, the quickest attention-getter is to say the wrong thing--the silly thing--and let the child correct the adult. Sure enough, when the page turns, we see a big red apple on the right while the lemon-shaped hole now on the left reveals the proper yellow from the previous spread: "Lemons are YELLOW // Apples are RED." So it continues through carrots/eggplants, flamingos/elephants, and so on, ending with a silver moon ("Good night!"). Each shape is simple, and each wrong statement appears within a solid-color spread of the right color, providing a hint for those who are not quite sure. The heavy paper should stand up to multiple readings and pokings, though the flamingo and reindeer may find their necks folded or ripped in time. As with Seeger's previous books, the colors and textures are nearly edible.
 
Kirkus Reviews, (starred review):
 
..Seeger has done marvelous things with her brushwork, from impasto to shimmering smoothness...Clever, imaginative, and utterly beguiling.
2005 ALA Notable Book (American Library Association):
 
...Cleverly designed concept book uses brilliant colors and die-cuts...
 
Child Magazine Best Book of 2004: .
 
..Kids will adore righting the wrongs of carrots painted purple and flamingos gone gray...
 
New York Public Library Best Book for Giving and Sharing, 2004:
 
Artfully placed and shaped die-cuts lead toddlers into an interactive world of bright colors.

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Laura Vaccaro Seeger, illustrated by the author

  • Laura Vaccaro Seeger is a New York Times best-selling author and illustrator and the recipient of a 2008 Caldecott Honor, Theodor Seuss Geisel Honors for both 2009 and 2008, a 2007 New York Times Best Illustrated Book Award, and the 2007 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award for Best Picture Book. Her books include First the Egg, The Hidden Alphabet, and Dog and Bear, among others.  Raised on Long Island, New York, Seeger began drawing at two years old and never stopped. For as long as she remembers, she wanted to write picture books. She received her B.F.A. degree at the School of Fine Art and Design at SUNY Purchase in Westchester, New York, and  then moved to Manhattan, where she worked as an animator, artist, and editor in the network television business. Seeger lives in Rockville Centre, Long Island, with her husband, Chris, their two sons, Drew and Dylan, and their dog, Copper. She loves painting, surfing, tennis, playing the piano, and spending time with her family. She takes long walks at the beach every day and paints in her studio every night.
  • Laura Vaccaro Seeger
    Laura Vaccaro Seeger
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Available Formats and Book Details

Lemons Are Not Red

Laura Vaccaro Seeger, illustrated by the author

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

Roaring Brook Press

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