Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Great Blueness and Other Predicaments


"Long ago there were no colors in the world at all.
Almost everything was grey, and what was not grey was black or white.
It was a time that was called The Great Greyness."
The Great Blueness and Other Predicaments is a story by Arnold Lobel about a wizard who introduces color into the world, and the effect on his neighbors. Like much of Lobel's work, the story is both philosophically suggestive and captivating.
I have used this story to talk about the mysteries of color with students from kindergarten to eighth grade. It can be used in a classroom philosophy session or at home with your own child. Some of the questions raised by Lobel's story that make for good discussion prompts include:
Do you think that there was a time when there was no color in the world?
How did color come to be?
If something is red, can it also be blue? Can it be pink? Maroon?
Is the color green made up of blue and yellow? If so, is green only blue and yellow? Or is it something else in itself?
Does color make you feel a certain way? How? Why do you think color can do that?
Are things different colors in different light? At night? Think about what colors the following things are during the day and at night:
Grass
A tulip
The rug in your room
Your hair
The blanket on your bed
A tree
Snow
Does the color of things change? Or is it the way we see that changes?
Is color in the things that we see? Or is it in us?
Do we all see the same colors the same way? For example, does the color red look the same to everyone? How would we know?
Is color real? What would make you think color is real, or not?
Would the world be different if it were made up of different colors?
Draw a world with colors unlike the ones in our world.

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