Quote of the Month

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

Friday, February 15, 2019

A Jubilant Salute

It is our wish for every child to embrace exactly who they are with joy.  We want them to wake up every morning knowing they have the potential to do important things, big or small. We want them to drift off to sleep at night knowing everything about their day has value, even if mistakes happen. They do make a difference.  The world would be less than it should be without them.

Each child is an essential piece in the puzzle of life regardless of their shape or size. Remarkably YOU (Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, February 5, 2019) written by Pat Zietlow Miller with illustrations by Patrice Barton is a lively look at what all children are and what they can be.  It's overflowing with exuberance and at its heart, full of love.

You might be bold.
You might be loud.
Leading parades.  Drawing a crowd.

If your traits are the opposite of bold and loud, think of yourself as a needed audience.  Even if you are young and alone, you can still learn.  You don't have to have the freedom of being older with friends.

Readers are reminded size and age are not factors in the capacity to achieve.  They are challenged to begin using their gifts, those things making them unique.  They are encouraged to join with other like-minded children.  They are asked to address problems, fix them and do it all again.

Perhaps you don't know what makes you the-one-and-only you.  Just do what you love to do.  Are you a reader, a racer, a number collector or an actor in fantastic realms?  You need to greet the world and show them who you are.

Readers are requested to use their skills, share their skills and spread the results of their efforts throughout their community.  It's all about increasing joy.  The more you do this, the happier everyone is.  They are assured their strength is in staying true to themselves and having the courage to be the change.

Through the words penned by Pat Zietlow Miller readers see their talents, known and as yet unknown disclosed in her narrative.  She entreats them to take their savvy and use it for the greater good. Her rhyming and inspirational sentences and phrases cheer for children regardless of who they are and what they can do.  Here is a passage.

So find what you're good at, what you have to give.
Then go share your sunshine wherever you live.

You can't look at the open and matching dust jacket and book case without smiling.  Those six children (plus one canine companion) are part of a playful parade.  Each one is happy to be there as evidenced by their gleeful expressions and highly animated motions.  I'll bet if you listen closely you can hear their laughter.  The full color palette and children from diverse backgrounds are an open invitation to join them and to read this book.

To the left, on the back, the scene continues with balloons crossing the spine.  Attached to the red-haired girl carrying balloons is a little red wagon with pennants strung along the side.  Two upright sticks, one in the front and one in the back, hold another string of pennants.  Beneath this a little boy is hugging a seated dog.  Behind them is another boy riding his bike and holding a flag.  Bringing up the end is a third girl holding a bunch of balloons. 

On the opening and closing endpapers done in hues of blue with a light pattern of character words such as

wise, bookish, fast, share, daring, swim, spell, dream or learn

as a background ten children are engaged in their favorite things.  They are so happy you want to laugh (and you do).  At the beginning this is followed by the red title words on a crisp white background.  On the more formal title, verso and dedication pages four of the children and the one dog are shown getting ready for the parade. 

Rendered by Patrice Barton with

pencil sketches and mixed media, assembled and painted digitally

the illustrations vary in size from double-page pictures, full-page images or a group of illustrations on a single page.  Delicate lines create small details welcoming us to linger at every page turn.  Careful readers will find the same characters in other images.  This allows them to see children discover their gifts.  A little boy who initially watches the parade likes to role play and beats on a drum by the end of the book.  Can you find the child who is experimenting with a sprinkler again in the book?  Another important element is the compassion shown by these children for others of all ages.

One of my many, many favorite pictures spans two pages.  A large tree trunk has been placed along and outside the gutter with the leafy top spreading out to the left and right.  On the left large daisies frame the bottom and left side.  Green grass and gardens filled with flowers provide a background.  Children are potting flowers, loading pots into a wheelbarrow, digging holes, planting seeds and watering flowers with a hose.  To the right, these same five children are now delivering the potted flowers to neighbors.  They walk down a sidewalk talking and laughing.  A woman and child, standing on a sidewalk to their home, receive a pot of flowers.

Without opening the cover or turning a single page you know this book, Remarkably YOU written by Pat Zietlow Miller with illustrations by Patrice Barton, is loaded with merriment.  Readers will feel this contentment spread throughout their minds and bodies as their souls soak up the enthusiasm for being themselves.  You could pair this with Penguin Flies Home,  Rock What Ya Got, Henny or Wild About Us!  I highly recommend this for your personal or professional collections.

To learn more about Pat Zietlow Miller and Patrice Barton and their other work, please follow the links attached to their names to access their websites.  Both Pat Zietlow Miller and Patrice Barton have accounts on Instagram.  They also both maintain accounts here and here on Twitter.  Pat Zietlow Miller has a post on Picture Book Builders about this title.  At the publisher's website you can view interior images.

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