The Widow’s Broom by Chris Van Allsburg. Houghton Mifflin, 1992.
A clever and harrowing tale with a surprise ending. Van Allsburg confronts ignorance in an Aesop’s Fables sort of way. Yet he has a non-traditional twist in that the witch’s broom, normally seen as evil, ends up being good. Illustrations are what one would expect from Van Allsburg, detailed pencil, pointillism, heavy with mood and filled with texture and detail.
His choice to shun color helps the reader notice detail and lends the book a timeless feel.
Poetry Month is coming to a close, and with it I'll share five Zolotow picture book classics. Books like these are "out of style" in current publishing, which is a shame. I'd much rather read Flock of Birds over and over than books about crazy hair or farting dogs.
As we continue to celebrate poetry, I continue to study picture books. I don't think I could count how many I've absorbed in the past years. Oodles? Oodles of oodles? A lot.
In honor of National Poetry Month, I'll be sharing some of my favorite poetic picture books. Beautiful, vivid, delightful reads. Here are five by Cynthia Rylant, an amazingly prolific author with an insane diversity of titles to her name.
Caroline B. Cooney’s A Friend at Midnight is one I picked up on a whim Friday afternoon. Obviously, since it’s only Monday now, this book was a quick and engrossing read. It’s the charming (ahem) story of a little boy abandoned at the airport by his father and rescued by his older sister. It’s about the elder sister’s struggle with keeping her brother’s secret. Overall, I’d say the book was annoying and refreshing and gripping and disappointing and meaningful.
What Jamie Saw is the story of a boy and his mother fleeing an abuser. The first chapter is heartbreaking and poignant. Coman chooses a close 3rd person but incorporates a distinct narrator voice—mature, respectful (similar to the Ramona books but less optimistic). So the voice...