The mix of emotion and color make a lesser known Dr. Seuss book a must-have
Interactive rhyming board book You’re my Little Cuddle Bug was the most-kept title in Literati’s Club Neo (for newborn to 3-year-olds) in February. The theme was ‘In My Heart’, and 72% of members decided to hold on to the title. But hard on its heels was My Many Colored Days, a lesser-known Dr. Seuss book, with 68% of club members purchasing it.
There’s a reason My Many Colored Days is still in print, two decades after it was first published. The association of color with emotion is a growing field of research. Known as color psychology (red = energy, danger; yellow = joy, happiness; green = growth, harmony, etc.) it can affect how humans process their environment.
Literati’s CEO Jessica Ewing says My Many Colored Days immediately jumped out at her as one of the most sophisticated board books she has encountered. “Kids of a very young age are starting to explore their emotions, and at the same time their brains are stimulated by bright colors. This book combines both of those things – emotion and color.
“They say the role of an intellectual is to take something simple and make it complex; and that an artist takes something complex and makes it simple,” Ewing says. “Well, emotions are very complex things and Seuss makes them accessible and beautifully simple in this book – which is really a sign of genius.”
Emotions are very complex things and Seuss makes them accessible and beautifully simple in this book – which is really a sign of genius
Dr. Mark West, a scholar in children’s literature at the University of North Carolina, says artists like Seuss knew there were emotional connotations associated with different colors and he tapped into that in a really creative way.
Although Seuss illustrated many of his own books, he actually employed the talents of fellow artists Lou Fancher and Steve Johnson for My Many Colored Days. “Fancher and Johnson do a great job of capturing in very simple abstract paintings the very emotions associated with certain colors,” West says, adding that the book reminds him of Seussian classic Oh, the Places You’ll Go. “There’s a lot in that book that deals with emotion – sometimes you feel on top of the world, other times not so much. And that kind of acknowledgement of the complexity of human emotion certainly runs through My Many Colored Days as well.”