Review: The Lonely Book by Kate Bernheimer

lonely book

The Lonely Book by Kate Bernheimer, illustrated by Chris Sheban

When the book first arrived at the library, it was shiny and new.  It was placed on display and a long list of children waited to read it.  Then the book was moved to the regular children’s shelves with other books that were not so new too.  It was still happy, since it got checked out often.  But as the book grew older, it got checked out less and less.  It had a tear and was missing its last page.  Then one day, a girl found the book, read it and loved it.  She took it home, carried it to school with her, and even shared it at show and tell.  The book felt loved again.  But the next story time, the girl chose a different book and forgot the special book.  She remembered when she got home, but the library was already closed.  Then when she got to the library a week later, the book was gone, withdrawn and meant for the book sale.  This is a sentimental but gorgeous book that every person who has ever loved a book will enjoy.

When I started this book, I was not a fan.  I worried that it would tip into the saccharine and overly sweet.  It is sentimental, as I mentioned above, but it never tips too far into that mode.  Instead I found myself reading a book that brought me back to the joy of discovering books as a child and finding myself closely attached to them.  I still can’t have a logical discussion of the Little House on the Prairie series, since I read them to tatters as a little girl.  I love this book for bringing me back to that.

Sheban’s art is soft and dreamy.  There are often books that glow with the wonder inside of them, something that book lovers will really appreciate.  This is a quiet book, and the art supports that, depicting quiet time reading and bonding with a story.

A great gift for any book-loving child, I think this book will speak most to adults who look fondly back on the books of their childhood.  Perhaps a holiday gift for your favorite librarian or reading teacher.  Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from copy received from Schwartz & Wade.

This Week’s Tweets and Pins

Here are the links I shared on my Twitter and Pinterest accounts that you might find interesting:


Maggie Stiefvater Interview : The Childrens Book Review #yalit

‘1. When still a child, make sure you read a lot of books.’ Zadie Smith’s rules for writing …


12 September 2012 – Humour in picture books « Picture Books Only

Beyond Judy Blume: Books for Children of All Genders | Bitch Media #kidlit

A Book Cover in Time: The Changing Art of Our Childhood Reads – Entertainment – The Atlantic Wire #kidlit

Books about planes, trains, and automobiles — The Horn Book #kidlit

RT @candlewick: Drumroll please! Newbery Award-winner Kate DiCamillo’s next #kidlit novel is announced! #kidlitchat

EarlyWord has the news of the sequel for Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children coming in June 2013 – #kidlit

Horn Book asks if a concept book like Green by Seeger can win the Caldecott – #kidlit

Market in children’s books thrives, with promise found in fall releases | The Columbus Dispatch

Top Ten Middle Grade Graphic Novel Series by Hannahlily Smith « Nerdy Book Club


Interesting look at "ebooks" & emergent readers. Thanks @sljournal …#tlchat #kidlit #edtech

What to Do When Kids Aren’t Allowed to Read Digital Books in School

What’s Wrong With Reading?

Why reading by third grade is critical, and what can be done to help children meet that deadline | Deseret News