A Color of His Own

The other day at art play-group I was doing a lesson on color. All the kids at our group are 3 and under, so we were mostly working on color recognition. I recently learned that English-speaking kids learn colors at a later developmental stage than kids who speak some other languages, due to the way we use colors in our speech patterns. We tend to say “the red ball” rather than “the ball is red.” Apparently by using the descriptor before the noun, kids discount the information, but if you use the descriptor after the noun, you have narrowed their focus and they can identify “red” as an attribute of the ball. You can read more about that here.

Anyway, I wanted to find a book to go along with the lesson that used color words after the nouns they describe, and let me tell you, it is hard! Almost every book I found used the color words first. Then I found this oldie but goodie:


A color of his own, by Leo Lionni.  The book is a charming exploration of a chameleon who is concerned that all the animals have a color of their own, but chameleons don’t have one constant color. In order to solve his problem and get a color of his own, he decides to climb on a leaf and stay there forever, and then he would always be green.


I won’t spoil the story and tell you what happens, but you can probably guess! Eventually he finds another chameleon friend who joins him and they figure out a solution. I loved the simple illustrations in this book, the humor, and the fact that the color words are used after the nouns! I also thought using one object that changes color (the chameleon) was a great way to help kids connect the color words with the colors that they are seeing on the page. This book is a winner all around.




2 thoughts on “A Color of His Own

  1. Declan loves this book! And I admit, I have loved reading it to him since he was a small baby. It was short and had vibrant pictures. He now loves for me to read it to him! Who knew I might be helping his with his colors. 😉

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