The Museum of Everything by Lynne Rae Perkins

Cover image for The Museum of Everything.

The Museum of Everything by Lynne Rae Perkins (9780062986306)

When the world gets too busy and big, you can look at the smaller pieces around you. You can put those things in a quiet place like a museum in your mind. Or maybe it could be a real museum. It could have things like a Museum of Islands because there are so many kinds and sizes. A Museum of Bushes could have skirts made out of different bushes and then real bushes too. A Museum of Shadows could have usual shadows but also ones that you don’t expect. The Sky Museum is already right over your head, ready to be seen every day. All these small pieces fit together in one large puzzle, creating the Museum of Everything all around us all the time.

Newbery Medalist Perkins has created a picture book exploration of imagination that invites readers to look around themselves and see the elements that are worthy of placement in their own museums of everything. She takes expansive ideas and turns them firm and real with her examples given through the perspective of the child narrator of the book. The result are charming stories of bushes, hiding places, shadows and much more. The everyday is turned amazing.

Her illustrations are done in a wide variety of media. Some pages are done in collage, the paper elements overlapping into a layered world. Other pages are filled with objects that celebrate bushes and hidden places. These are 3 dimensional dioramas or sculptures that draw readers right into them.

Celebrating the extraordinary ordinary, this picture book is a lesson in imagination and creativity. Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from e-galley provided by Greenwillow Books.

Welcome to My House by Gaia Stella

Welcome to My House by Gaia Stella

Welcome to My House by Gaia Stella (9781452157924, Amazon)

Olga, a friendly black cat, leads readers through her home. She shows all of the objects in the house in a variety of categories. There is everything for sitting that includes a stool, chairs, and even a stack of books. Everything that brightens has candles, lamps, and a window. The lists continue with images of each item and a name. Everything that passes the time includes games but also brother and sister. While this is a look at the objects in a home, it also speaks to the various roles that the people in a home can have.

Originally published in France, this picture book has a distinct European feel. Stella presents a simple premise of a book that becomes more complex as readers look more closely at the items included in each category. There are some lists that are unusual like everything that shows time passing and everything for warming up that include unlikely items. This picture book shows categorizing items and also teaches words so it has many uses for young readers.

The illustrations are done in a simple and bold style that offers just enough detail to identify objects clearly but avoids being fussy or too crowded on the page. Readers will enjoy discovering that Olga is a cat, something that explains the sorts of things that make her list and are distinctly from a cat’s point of view.

A book that will have readers exploring the pages closely and inventing their own categories in their homes. Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from copy received from Chronicle.


Review: Some Things I’ve Lost by Cybèle Young

Some Things Ive Lost by Cybele Young

Some Things I’ve Lost by Cybèle Young (InfoSoup)

Explore a world of lost items that when lost change and grow and become something else. Figure one is a roller skate, laces flying that was last seen in the basement. Turn the foldout page to see it become something ethereal and unreal. The visor on the next page that was last seen on the lawn grows into something organic and living. One-by-one objects change into a landscape of imagination, becoming something far different than where they began but still having connections to the original object in form and color.

Done with almost no text except a description of the original items and where they were lost, this book is all about the incredible illustrations. Done in 3-D paper art, Young created not just the original object and the final transformation, but several stages in between where you see the clear connection between where we began and what it became. Part way through the book, readers will start to notice an underwater theme to the transformations, as we see coral, jellyfish, fish and anemones. There is a delicacy and luminous quality to the entire book, showing both the lack of permanence and the power of imagination.

Brilliant, surreal and completely amazing, this picture book is an inspiring look at creativity and imagination. Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from library copy.