The Amazing Idea of You by Charlotte Sullivan Wild, illustrated by Mary Lundquist (9781681191836)
Inside every apple is the idea of a tree wrapped inside a tiny seed. If you plant it, that idea starts to grow and bloom. This picture book explores the ideas that are inside you! Just like the tree inside the seed or the chick inside an egg, ideas are inside of you and waiting to come out. It’s like the frog inside the tadpole, the flight inside a gosling or the butterfly inside the caterpillar. Ideas are personal and transform our world. What is inside of you?
Written with an inspirational tone, this picture book encourages children to think deeply about what they want to grow into. The message is empowering and personal, giving children the space and time to dream and think. In the story, the little girl creates an apple orchard from apple seeds which serves as a metaphor for how small things can grow large and make big changes to the world around us. The illustrations are positive and bubbly. Featuring a child of color though not a specific ethnicity, the illustrations have a warmth about them.
An appealing book with a focus on self-esteem and personal growth. Appropriate for ages 3-5.
Reviewed from copy provided by Bloomsbury.
Ideas Are All Around by Philip C. Stead (InfoSoup)
Stead captures a day in search of a story to write. He takes a walk with his dog named Wednesday since it’s a sunny day. They greet Frank, a turtle who lives near the bridge. They wave to Barbara a neighbor who owns the home where the author used to live and where he dropped blue paint in the shape of a horse. Ducks float by. Trains rush past. They walk through town and listen to the birds and watch the blue sky. Wednesday chases a squirrel back to Barbara’s house where they have coffee together. And soon a story has been found.
This is a treasure of a picture book. It offers a glimpse into the writing process, into the importance of getting outside and taking a walk. It shows how little things turn into stories and become big ideas. It also shows the author as a product of his personal landscape, whether that is filled with a story based firmly in reality like this one or one that is more fantastical or whimsical.
Stead’s illustrations are a rich mix of media. There are photographs of Wednesday combined with collage, painting and printed words. Some of the paintings have gorgeous textures that remind me of stencils or the roughness of stamping. The entire book sings with invention and inspiration.
A perfect leaping off point for young writers, this book shows that not only can any idea become a story but ideas can become great picture books too. Appropriate for ages 6-9.
Reviewed from library copy.
I Am Henry Finch by Alexis Deacon, illustrated by Viviane Schwarz (InfoSoup)
The finches live all together in a flock making a huge racket and not thinking at all. They all say good morning, good afternoon, good evening and good night each day, starting over again each day. The only thing that changed their routine was when the Beast came and ate one or more of them. After that, the flock would shout about the Beast and fly higher in the tree. But then something different happened. Henry woke up and heard a thought in his head. He thought and thought, and realized that someone had to stop the Beast and that he could be a hero! But when he tried to best the Beast, it did not go as planned. Can thinking some more save Henry?
I am a fan of strange picture books and this is certainly one of them. It has a philosophical feel to it, changing from what is at first a look at the cacophony of the modern world and the lack of thinking happening in mobs to then the power of thought, the importance of ideas, and the way that thinking alone can change the world. This is a book that is not pat. It will instead inspire discussion. If you are looking for a picture book to inspire a metaphysical discussion with children, this is it. Clever and smart, it allows children themselves to start to think too.
Using thumbprints as the finches is a fascinating choice. Fingerprints are unique but these birds are anything but. The book then moves to darkness where Henry is inside the Beast. The pages black with white lines, all deep and dark and filled solely with silence and thought. It’s a powerful visual transition.
Not for everyone, this picture book will delight some and confuse others. I hope it delights you like it did me! Appropriate for ages 5-8.
Reviewed from library copy.