I doubt I would have picked up Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s Gift from the Sea if it hadn’t been on my #MustReadin2017 list, which I compiled entirely from books on other people’s lists. If you haven’t read it before, here’s the set-up: Lindbergh travels by herself to a beach retreat to come to some kind of terms with herself and her life. She spends her days wandering the beach, collecting shells, and the different shells become metaphors for different stages of life. Gift from the Sea surprised me by being exactly the book I wanted to be reading right now. It’s a book about how to live, specifically about how women do live and ought to live, and though it is a product of its time (1955), it’s also surprisingly relevant to women’s lives now. Some of Lindbergh’s observations about technology and distraction seem even more relevant now than they could have in 1955. It’s a quick read and well worth a look if you enjoy contemplative meditations on life. It’s a book I could also imagine reading very differently depending on your age and life situation.
In Plain Sight has gorgeous illustrations by Jerry Pinkney and there is a strong relationship between grandfather and granddaughter at the core, but I do wish the story had been a little more developed. A grandfather hides items for his granddaughter to find (I imagine younger readers will enjoy spotting the item in Pinkney’s detailed illustrations), and in the end, she hides from him and must be found.
Humbert, Mr Firkin, and the Lord Mayor of London has me questioning my plan to make an effort through interlibrary loan to get my hands on more picture books from the 60s and 70s. I really didn’t care for this one. Humbert is a work horse who is very jealous of the horses who get to pull the Lord Major of London around town in a parade. He sulks and stops finding meaning in his own work because he’s so jealous. When the Lord Mayor’s carriage breaks, Humbert gets his chance to parade around town purposelessly. Now he feels good about himself again. Yeah. I don’t get it.
Go, Otto, Go! provides a solid story of a robot who discovers where home truly is in writing suitable for the very earliest of readers.
I made the most wonderful discovery this week: an Elephant & Piggie book I’d never read before! I have no idea how this happened, but it was such a delight to open this one, find the whole set-up unfamiliar, start reading, and suddenly realize: I’ve never read this! This is a totally new-to-me Elephant & Piggie story! Of course it’s brilliant.
Richard Byrne uses the gutter brilliantly in This book just ate my dog! Multiple characters disappear right into it, and the reader must take an active role in shaking the book to help them find their way out. Clever fun.
Ada Twist, Scientist, is definitely my favorite of the maker-minded series written by Andrea Beaty and illustrated by David Roberts. Roberts’s illustrations have always been the best part of these books, in my mind, and this time, the story is just as strong and the rhyme didn’t detract.
I knew what was going to happen in Ida, Always going into the story, and let me tell you, I wasn’t happy about it. I mean, I can cry just looking at the cover of Cat Heaven! But death is handled sensitively by Caron Levis, and Charles Santoso’s illustrations are cheerful and full of hope. Heartfelt, truly touching.
I had just a moment to read through Tony in the bookstore, and a quick read through probably isn’t the best way to approach this quiet story. I spent far more time pouring over Erin Stead’s marvelous illustrations than paying attention to the text. I will need to read it again to understand more about how the texts work, but the illustrations are haunting.
Ben Clanton’s Narwhal, Unicorn of the Sea is so much fun, a wonderful early graphic novel series that can still be enjoyed by older readers. There’s a fine story of friendship at the core, a memorable character in Narwhal, and some interesting underwater animal facts as well.