Farrer, Straus, and Giroux, (Hardcover), 28 pp., 1984
Sometimes we make the origins debate more complex than it needs to be, and it takes a children’s book to boil it down to the basic issues. Such is the case with Yellow & Pink by William Steig. This delightful book about two wooden dolls, who suddenly become self-aware and wonder about their origins, is a delight to read with any 3 to 8 year old and provides a great launching pad for addressing that age-old question “Mommy, where did I come from?” Although you won’t find the words “Intelligent Design” or “Evolution” in this book, you will quickly recognize the underlying philosophical arguments for both, boiled down to their essence.
In Yellow & Pink …Steig has created a pair of characters who seem the embodiments of his bright esthetic. Named for the colors of their freshly painted costumes, Pink and Yellow are wooden dolls left out to dry in the sun. They are odd fellows, bumpkins, incorrigables, clowns, countrymen of Beckett’s Vladimir and Estragon, Laurel and Hardy. Philosophers both, they no sooner “awaken,” come to life, than they begin to ponder by what means they might have arrived in this world. “How,” Yellow demands …”could anyone make something like me, so intricate, so perfect? Or, for that matter, like you.” … One marvels at the expressiveness, the nearness to animation, of Steig’s vibrant drawings.
- Leonard Marcus, The Washington Post Book World
Steig is incomparable. Bravo! A yellow and a pink puppet lie in the sun, waiting for their paint to dry. Theyponder their origin. They speculate. They debate. As soon as they’ve settled on a solution, a mysterious man unsettles their theory. Who is this man? The reader must decide.
- Los Angeles Times Book Review
Original, witty, provocative.
- Zena Sutherland, Chicago Tribune
A comic fable that has more clout than the most fervent homily.
- Publishers Weekly
Yellow & Pink is currently out of print