Yellow Time + Autumn Color Hunt
“The wind blows yellow sideways, then up, then down. Everywhere fills with yellow. A symphony of yellow.”
The leaves have finally started turning and it is aglow in gold here in Kansas. We’ve been reading Lauren Stringer’s new autumnal picture book Yellow Time (public library) on repeat, because like the characters in the story, we’ve been waiting and waiting for this magical time when the world seems to be a vibrant yellow– Now it’s finally here!
Yellow Time begins with neighborhood children gathering outside to admire the autumn weather. All of a sudden a wind rips through the trees, announcing the moment they’ve all been waiting for– Yellow time! They play, frolic, dance, gather leaves, and make leaf crowns, but like all good things it must come to an end. The children appreciate and admire the spell while it lasts and once it’s over, find a way to preserve a bit of this beloved time of year.
Melodic text and vibrant illustrations that almost appear to be moving in the vivid contrast between the the dark bark and bright yellow leaves, the children, and the crows. This is a book that will make you want to run and play outside, enjoying all the wonder and opportunity the autumn season holds.
Yellow Time Color Hunt
Reading Yellow Time prompted our own seasonal color investigation with a autumn color scavenger hunt. This is a simple activity highlighted on two fantastic blogs, Book Nerd Mommy and 3 Green Acorns, which I adapted for this picture book. Here’s how this simple exploration in autumn color theory works…
– Yellow interior paint color swatches (the ones pictured came from our local hardware store)
– Clothes pins
– Found nature items in various shades of yellow
Alrighty. So, this is a fairly straight forward activity. Take a walk outside during a fall day when the leaves have already started to change, taking notice of the various shades of yellow. Gather a few yellow nature items in a spectrum of light and dark shades. Once you return home, sort and color match the found nature treasures with the yellow paint swatches. We adhered our nature findings with clothes pins onto the paint color swatches, because the wind kept blowing the leaves away.
The yellow color seen in fallen leaves is actually a chemical breakdown of chlorophyll, the scientific name for what gives leaves their green color. When the days grow shorter and colder in autumn, photosynthesis stops and the green parts of leaves (chlorophll) breaks down leaving the yellow colors we see before the leaves breaks from the branch entirely. This yellow color is called xanthophyll. We see remnants of other colors too depending on the type of tree– Orange is carotene, the reds and purples are anthocyanin, and brown is tannin. Eventually, all leaves turn brown.
Sorting these shades of yellow is one way to see the range of xanthophyll exhibited in a variety of plants and autumn leaves. An autumn yellow color hunt is an easy peasy way to delve into the science of the season and a bit of color theory too!
Happy Yellow Time!
For more autumn reads, check out these 6 new picture books that celebrate the fall as well as this massive booklist organized by theme of favorite fall reads for kids.
*Copy of book reviewed was provided by the good folks at Simon & Schuster