top of page
  • Writer's picturePicture Book Snob

Blog Tour: Out of the Blue by Robert Tregoning and Stef Murphy, published by Bloomsbury

It's our turn on the tour celebrating the release of Out of the Blue by Robert Tregoning and Stef Murphy, which is published by Bloomsbury on February 2, 2023 (today!).

Out of the Blue is the story of a little boy who lives in a world where everything is blue and other colours are forbidden. The boy secretly loves yellow and is concerned about the consequences. He is scared that his secret stash of sunshine-coloured objects will be discovered, and he is worried that loving yellow makes him a 'bad' person.

There are so many reasons to love this story, but here are our top five:

1. It encourages readers to be open about themselves, their experiences and their interests. We see that keeping secrets causes distress, rather than what we are concealing. When the boy opens up to his father, their entire world changes for the better.

2. It shows it's OK to be different, demonstrating why diversity is so important and how terrible it would be to live in a world in which everyone and everything and everyone is the same. The story teaches us to embrace our own differences and celebrate the differences of those around us.

3. It explores the impact that even a seemingly small gesture can have as we see the ripple effect of the boy's actions moving his entire community.

4. It does all of the above in a gentle, child-friendly way, using things and themes to which young people will easily relate. The rubber duck is such a powerful symbol, representing childhood and also emphasising how harmless it is to love what you love or be who you are. The 'closet' where the boy hides his forbidden treasures, and how it's discovered by his father, is an interesting metaphor for LGBTQ+ people and 'coming out of the closet' but the story can be enjoyed even without considering the subtext, which is never heavy-handed.

5. The supportive relationship at the heart of the story is wonderful and is what ultimately causes the boy's whole world to right itself. I love how the father reassures the little boy when he finds out he loves yellow, saying softly,"Don’t worry ... I’m your dad and I love you." It's a simple statement, yet so comforting for a child to know, and unfortunately, not everyone's parents are as understanding when they learn something about their offspring that might challenge their own belief system.

The illustrations are absolutely stunning and masterfully enrich the story and convey even more meaning. I love how the light radiates from the yellow items and how a tiny golden leaf follows him around, hovering in the background. So much is expressed by the faces and even the postures of all the characters. There's a visible transformation in the protagonists as their world becomes more vibrant, and their demeanors clearly communicate how they are far happier.

The following line which is one of the most beautiful and moving ones I've ever seen in children's literature: 'Life is a rainbow - we all love different things. So celebrate your difference and enjoy the joy love brings. Whether you love yellow or whether you love blue ... Let your colours shine and love whatever makes you YOU!" And the entire story is narrated through an engaging, lyrical and skilful rhyming text that flows wonderfully. I can't believe this is Tregoning's first picture book!

Visit the other tour stops to learn more about this book - you can see them all below - and scroll down to find out more about the author and the illustrator:

About the Author

Robert Tregoning studied at the Glasgow School of Art before leaping in to a career on the West End stage. He has appeared in stage shows including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, directed by Academy Award-winner Sam Mendes, and the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Matilda the Musical.

As an LGBTQ+ writer, Robert hopes to help children and adults alike to accept and celebrate all that makes us uniquely ourselves. The stories Robert writes are stories he wishes he could have read as a child. He hopes they provide a voice of recognition, validation and kindness to those who need it.

About the Illustrator

Stef Murphy is a freelance illustrator and storyteller living in London. She loves drawing animals and making up stories, and she has illustrated books including The Fire Fox by Alexandra Page. Out of the Blue is her first book for Bloomsbury.

Instagram: Thanks so much to Kaleidoscopic tours and Bloomsbury for inviting us on the tour and sharing this fabulous book with us - all opinions are our own. Out of the Blue is published by Bloomsbury on February 2, 2023 - see this book on the publisher's website


bottom of page