Originally published in 1971, Yellow Yellow is back for a new generation of readers. A boy finds a bright yellow hat as he goes walking in the city one day. He wanders the streets, wearing the hat, until he finally meets up with the hat’s owner: a burly construction worker, who needs his hat back. When the boy goes home, he makes his own yellow hat.
Yellow Yellow has vintage ’70s artwork that just explodes across the page, and the story is truly written in a different time; the boy wanders crowded urban streets with no parental guidance, walking along a construction site loaded with screws, pipe fittings, and paint cans; passes blocks jammed with small storefronts, like a barbershop, a bookstore, and a deli; and passes through a lunch counter joint, where he weighs himself on a scale that costs a penny. This is the urban New York landscape of my childhood, and I love every single second I spend with this boy and his stroll. Tiny details abound, providing a feast for the sharp-eyed reader. The black and white scratchy ink drawings have yellow touches for effect and appear like 1970s-era mandalas for Gen Xers like myself. Mark Alan Stamaty made each 2-page spread filled with things to see, from the paint cans that offer inspirational messages (read ’em!) to the boys’ room at home, walls covered in pictures of planes, numbers, and letters. Surreal touches dot the artwork, too: the boy has fish in a birdcage, and two birds thriving in a clearly full fish tank. At the lunch counter, a live frog waits under one glass dome, while a bird makes a nest in another. Hope they’re not on the menu!
If you love the old school Sesame Street music cutaways, like the famous pinball “12” song, Yellow Yellow will hit you right in the heartstrings. Right this to your kidlings, play the Number 12 song, and have plenty of yellow construction paper handy to make yellow hats.