The Colour Thief: A Visually Stunning Story About the Nature of Happiness and the Power of Small Acts of Kindness

June 8, 2016

Every so often, a picturebook comes along that captures the art form perfectly. The Colour Thief, by Gabriel Alborozo, is such a picturebook: with minimal text, simple drawings and an explosion of colours, it takes us on a journey with Zot, an alien creature who lives in a colourless planet and decides to visit the Earth in order to experience its multicolour splendor.


Alborozo’s illustrations are  simple yet engaging, capturing beautifully the wonders of our world and an array of emotional transitions.

Upon coming to Earth, Zot realizes that living in a colourful world is wonderful, and after deciding against moving to Earth due to all of his friends that are waiting for him back home, he chooses to steal all the colour and take it with him.


Zot, mesmerized by the colourful surroundings, kept stealing colours.


“Zot stole all the colours…

calling them to him…

until every last colour…

had disappeared.”


Despite leaving everything grey and colourless, Zot doesn’t realise the consequences of his actions until he sees a boy walking down the hill with an orange balloon. Zot steals that colour too, but right before leaving he looks down and the sight of the sad boy in a grey planet changes his mind.

Zot decides to return the colours and readers are graced with a stunning celebration of colours dancing on page.


Despite the fortunate turn of events for Earth, Zot’s expression tells a different story. Consideration for others outweighs his desire to create a colourful world for him and his friends and of course Zot decides against taking things that aren’t his, yet Alborozo paints an honest emotional state for Zot and a sincere depiction of desire: doing the right thing isn’t always great nor does it make us feel elated, joyful or delighted. It can leave us feeling sad, disappointed, wanting.

As we turn the page, however, a heartwarming sequence of frames renders us witnesses of the power of a small act of kindness.

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What emerges is a gentle reminder that happiness is often found in the tiniest, seemingly meaningless things and that even the smallest acts of kindness have transformative power.

The Colour Thief by Gabriel Alborozo (2014) is published by Bloomsbury Children’s Books

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