Cover image for Yesterday I had the blues
Yesterday I had the blues
Frame, Jeron Ashford.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Berkley, Calif. : Tricycle Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
(unpaged) : illustrations ; 28 cm
A young boy ponders a variety of emotions and how different members of his family experience them, from his own blues to his father's grays and his grandmother's yellows.
Reading Level:
AD 630 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 2.4 0.5 72134.

Reading Counts RC K-2 1.8 1 Quiz: 36986 Guided reading level: I.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



Moods change from day to day, and you never know what tomorrow will bring. But one thing's for sure: when you've got love around you, the blues won't stick around long.

Author Notes

JERON ASHFORD FRAME was listening to a blues song on her car radio when she came up with the idea to write Yesterday I Had the Blues. When she's not writing, Jeron works at an academic library and spends time with her three daughters and her cat, Boomer. She lives near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

R. GREGORY CHRISTIE is a three-time recipient of the Coretta Scott King Honor Award. He has illustrated over twenty picturebooks and contributes regularly to the New Yorker and other magazines. Gregory works out of his studio in Brooklyn, New York. Visit

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

K-Gr. 2. The young African American narrator of this picture book spends a gloomy day with the blues; on the other hand, his energetic, ballet-crazy sister has a case of the pinks. Frame explores the spectrum of feelings, represented by different colors, that a sensitive little boy observes in himself and in others who live in his urban neighborhood. Cues in the artwork that can help children understand the emotions may occasionally be lost in Christie's sometimes dizzyingly askew compositions, but the vibrant palette and expressive characters perfectly reinforce the premise. Frame's soulful text describes each emotion with a flair for the telling detail (the father has got the grays. . . . / The don't ask for a new skateboard till tomorrow grays ). At times, the author's free-associating can be a bit puzzling (the straight shoelaces, coffee in the car grays ), but representing emotions with colors is an excellent way to introduce kids to metaphor. This will be a versatile tool for creative-writing units, too. --Jennifer Mattson Copyright 2003 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this upbeat tale, moods may color the way people look at the world, but family togetherness trumps all. Debut author Frame and the consistently masterful Christie (Only Passing Through) riff on the range of human emotions with the agility of longtime collaborators, and the result is a book that truly sings. "Yesterday I had the blues," begins the African-American boy narrator. "Those deep down in my shoes blues,the go away, Mr. Sun, quit smilin' at me blues." But today is definitely looking up. "I got the greens. The runnin' my hand along the hedges greens. ... The kind of greens make you want to be Somebody." Jaunty, irregular typography acts as tempo and dynamic markings, underscoring the musicality of Frame's text. The boy then muses on the states of mind of everyone in his family, a subject well suited to Christie's visual finesse. The artist's off-kilter perspectives and playfully skewed proportions reinforce the intensity and fluidity of mood swings, while the array of saturated, textured hues infuse each spread with emotional depth. Christie attributes Daddy's case of "the grays" to a parking ticket, older sister Tania performs her "indigo" funk to the hilt. Other moods will be all too recognizable to readers (when Mama spots her younger children bouncing on the bed, she gets the reds"Look out!"). It's clear that in this family, even when moods are mercurial, love enduresand that, says the boy, makes life "all golden." Ages 4-8. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 1-4-From his own "blues" to Gram's cheery "yellows" to Mama's "reds" ("Look out!"), a young boy describes the ever-changing moods of the people he loves, divulging that no matter what, his family always makes him feel "like it's all golden." Dynamic paintings in vivid hues reflect each emotional nuance. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.