Quote of the Month

When love and skill work together, expect a miracle. John Ruskin

Friday, April 17, 2015

To Want, To Hope For, To Dream Of...

It was a gift.  It was a gift from the parent of a student.  It became the symbol of the beginning and the end.  I still have it; a cherished token of hundreds of storytelling hours with girls and guys of all ages.

It looks like a genie's lamp; formed on a potter's wheel and fired in a kiln.  A wide wick coils in a pool of oil and then winds up the neck where it can be lit.  There is magic attached to this small beacon of light and warmth.  At the close of stories told, one is chosen to blow out the flame but all in attendance make three wishes; a wish for someone, know or unknown, anywhere in the world, a wish for someone you love, even a pet, and a wish for yourself.  You are, after all, very special.

In their newest collaboration Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld weave words, art and wishes together to bring us I Wish You More (Chronicle Books, March 31, 2015).  You don't need a lamp, a star, the first robin of spring or a newfound penny.  You can do it every day as often as possible.

I wish you more ups than downs.

In a series of comparisons destined to spread a feeling of gladness from the top of your head to the tips of your toes, someone is sending out goodness to another.  We experience the thrill of sharing.  We find relief in being able to keep our head above water. Limber limbs to the rescue.

If everyone pulls their own weight, everyone is a winner.  Handing out hugs goes a long way to taking away the blues.  Be sure to celebrate but not too fast!

We learn to be persistent in our climb.  We know that trying over and over leads to success especially when making bows.  Who wouldn't like to capture endless snowflakes on an outstretched tongue?

Be sure to notice the world around you; take time to see the little details.  Will you be ready to stay dry when it rains?  You can never have enough bubbles in a bath.  You can never gather enough tiny riches from nature.  You can never have enough tales to tell.  All this goodness is sent because you...wonderful you...are loved.

Amy Krouse Rosenthal has the gift of finding joy and conveying it in the best words possible for her intended audience.  She appeals to those universal moments most children share; the act of giving, standing on your tip-toes in the water, learning to tie shoelaces in a bow, or standing under an umbrella listening to the rain hit the fabric.  The way one sentence follows another in a mix of opposites, alliteration and rhymes creates a melody of affection.  Here is another sample.

I wish you more will than hill.

If you live where there are dandelions, you have wished on the seeds, scattering them to the gentle winds carrying your desires with them.  The matching dust jacket and book case is a single illustration with the seeds scattering across the back, to the left, on the pale blue sky.  The white illumination seen on the bottom of the jacket and book case is carried to the opening and closing endpapers in the softest golden yellow.  On the publication page is a large dandelion gone to seed.  Opposite this on the title page three seeds spin above the text on the same blue background.

Rendered in ink, watercolor, pan pastels and colored pencils with digital art assistance from Kristen Cella, Tom Lichtenheld's illustrative interpretation of Amy Krouse Rosenthal's words is delightful.  For each of the fourteen I wish you more phrases he gives readers double-page illustrations with the exception of four.  On these there is liberal use of white space with text on the right followed by an image on the left.

Lichtenheld uses a full color palette.  His details are an uplifting complement to the narrative.  On the bubble bath pages the two bs in bubble are raised up by a bubble.  On one of the top bubbles sits a yellow rubber ducky.  The children's expressions are precious.  The little girl who is trying to tie her shoe is chewing on her tongue as her dog watches.

One of my favorite illustrations is near the end of the book.  For the words

I wish you more stories than stars.

it's nighttime.  The scene is inside a child's bedroom as they are reading by flashlight beneath the blanket.  On the bookshelves are a top, blocks, a toy truck, a globe and a sock monkey.  A skateboard rests against the shelves.  Beneath the bed are frog slippers with big googly eyes.  Outside the sky is filled with stars.  A crescent moon is framed in a single window pane of six.

I Wish You More written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal with illustrations by Tom Lichtenheld definitely falls in the category of books I hug when I finish reading them.  Children who read this or have it read to them will know their true value, priceless treasures every one.  I know this will be on all professional and personal shelves but I plan on buying multiple copies to give as gifts.

To learn more about Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld please follow the links attached to their names to access their websites.  Here is a link to a free activity kit and posters at the publisher's website. UPDATE:  This post by Tom Lichtenheld on May 20, 2015 at the Nerdy Book Club about the process for creating this book is a must read.

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