Quote of the Month

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

Friday, February 26, 2021

When Read It Is Everlasting

Seeing kindergarten students browsing in the library, selecting books of their choice, and checking them out for the first time never grows old.  Their pride and excitement in this accomplishment fills your soul with happiness.  When they gather to hear a story read from a book, they get as close to you as possible.  They (and many older students) lean in as if to absorb every line.  They relish the cadence of the words. After that story time, the book's popularity is assured.

Later, they will check out the book, to share it with others or retell the story in their own words.  Book to book, person to person, stories live.  Book's Big Adventure (A Paula Wiseman Book, Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers, February 9, 2021) written by Adam Lehrhaupt with illustrations by Rahele Jomepour Bell is a tribute to the lasting power of books and the story inside each one.

Book was new.

The cover bright and shiny.

Its home a prominent shelf.

This book did not stay on the shelf.  It left, riding in a car, going on a picnic, and being read aloud at bedtime.  Happiness filled Book.  

Unfortunately, Book lost its spot on the notable shelf.  It was less visible on a lower shelf.  Soon Book was not bright and shiny but dusty and dull.  Book's adventures were less frequent.

In time, Book was placed on another shelf.  It watched other titles come and go.  Book was worried. Would Book ever have another adventure?  Oh, how Book wanted to feel that joy again!  

One day, the worst thing happened.  Book fell and came to rest underneath the bookshelves.  Late one night, a beam of light warmed Book.  Book was held in loving hands and read.  Then, just when Book's hopes soared, Book was left in a scrambled mess with other books.  Fortunately, Book was not there long.  Fortunately, Book was about to discover how leaving reveals the greatest adventures of all.

Giving life to an inanimate object has been done well with simple, declarative sentences by author Adam Lehrhaupt.  We all understand the feeling of being in a new situation or having something new.  We can identify with experiences associated with newness.  We also know the sadness of loneliness and isolation.  By assigning these very real emotions to Book, we are attached to these events, these circumstances in this narrative.  The use of phrases and single words places greater emphasis on each situation.  Here is a passage.

So no one noticed it.
Book sat on its shelf.
Until . . .  

When you first look at the open dust jacket, the delight you feel when finding the perfect book is reflected on the facial features of Book.  The design of the block lettering for the words, THE BOOK, the red color for Book, and the bright yellow title text all say enter, hope is found here.  On the other side of the spine, on the back, to the left, we are looking slightly down on the scene.  Between a sleeping child and their sleeping dog, both nestled under the covers, is Book, smiling with closed eyes.  The mix of patterns on the wallpaper, the rug on the floor, and the comforter and pillows is cheerful.  A lamp on the nightstand casts a glow.  On the front, the title text, Book and the hands holding Book are varnished.  The title text is raised.

The book case is Book.  The opening and closing endpapers are orange.  The initial and formal title pages are yellow with red letters for the title text.

These illustrations by Rahele Jomepour Bell 

rendered using digital brushes and scanned, hand-printed textures

span single and double pages on matte-finished paper.  A variety of perspectives complement the pacing giving us sometimes an overview and other times, intimacy.  You will find the passage of time presented within a single image.  The facial looks on the people, from diverse backgrounds, mirror contentment.  Readers will have themselves pausing on page turns to notice included details.  What will they see when they look on the bookshelves in the final child's bedroom?

One of my many favorite illustrations spans two pages.  Book is discovering the proverbial notation of what one finds unappealing, another finds something to love.  On the left, close to readers, a child is clasping Book in their hands.  Book nearly fills this entire page.  A portion of the child's shoulder and arm cross the gutter.  On the right side is a portion of a bookcase.  On top is a globe, a toy Ferris wheel, and a glimpse of a beautifully painted pony.  You can easily read the titles of the books on the shelf.  The designs in the wallpaper and the child's clothing make a wonderful combination.

From one who knows children respond to the idea of lonely books on the shelf waiting to be checked out, this book, Book's Big Adventure written by Adam Lehrhaupt with illustrations by Rahele Jomepour Bell, will resonate with readers and listeners alike.  At the close of the book in an Author's Note, we read about giving a second life to books through donations.  There is also a list titled Book Donation Ideas.  You'll want to have a copy of this book available on your personal and professional bookshelves.

To discover more about Adam Lehrhaupt and Rahele Jomepour Bell and their other work, please access their websites by following the link attached to their names.  Adam Lehrhaupt has accounts on Facebook, Instagram, PinterestTwitter and YouTube.  Rahele Jomepour Bell has accounts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.  At the publisher's website you can view interior illustrations. 

No comments:

Post a Comment