- Leo: A Ghost Story by Mac Barnett 2. A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries, Four Families, One Delicious Treat by Emily Jenkins 3. Sidewalk Flowers by Jon Arno Lawson 4. The Skunk by Mac Barnett
Finally a library haul! I had to get this one out before I return these gems to JPL tomorrow in exchange for another batch of beauties.
1. I cannot say enough wonderful things about Leo: A Ghost Story. In fact, I have purchased this book three times (!) in the past month to give as a christmas present or birthday gift. Mac Barnett writes the story of Leo, a ghost who after many years alone, is forced to find a new home and in the process makes a friend, Jane. Jane believes Leo is an imaginary friend, and Leo, finally happy to have a play mate, is reluctant to reveal he is a ghost for fear of losing his friend. I readily admit I am guilty of over analyzing children’s books, but I love how subversive the illustrations by Christian Robinson are. The understanding/creative/tour de force of a friend in this story, Jane, is black. As a woman of color and the aunt to beautiful little girls who look just like Jane, I can’t tell you how good that rare depiction made me feel. Both cops depicted in the story are women. And in contrast to what the media tells us criminals look like, the man who breaks into Jane’s house is a white man. Also, Mac Barnett dedicated this story to Jon Klassen, which made my cold heart grow three sizes. I love this illustrator/author bromance. It’s the little things, guys!
2. A Fine Dessert is one of those books Foos loved so much, we read it almost every night for two weeks. Seth bought it for her for christmas, so I’ll be reading it every week for the rest of forever, hah. A Fine Dessert, is, as the title describes, the story of the blackberry fool from England in the 1700’s to today. A Fine Dessert is truly a sublime work of art. If you look closely, you can see the story of the blackberry fool is not the only one being told. This book is about changing gender roles, advancements in technology, changing racial relations, and changes in society. But most importantly, how through all of those (welcomed changes) the one constant is the love and bond of family and friendship. The book includes a recipe for making a blackberry fool, which we made, and it was as delicious as the book itself. Also, if you pay attention to the house scenes, the illustrator, Sophie Blackall, throws in an easter egg! Apparently, a little black horse is a decor element that has, like the blackberry fool, been enjoyed centuries.
3. Sidewalk Flowers is a wordless book in which a little girl, on a walk with her father through the city, spots and collects sidewalk flowers. I loved this book! I thought Sidewalk Flowers highlights the beauty that can be found in everyday life, if one looks closely and takes the time to stop and take it in. The little girl not only spots and picks the flowers, but she also shares them with others. True story, I read this book to my niece, nephew, and Foos during a sleepover. The next day, on our walk home from the park, they picked up every flower they saw (weeds, really) and left one on the stoop or doorway of the homes we passed. That alone is reason enough to share this book with your littles.
4. The Skunk is the story a man who believes he is being followed by a skunk. Initially at least, it really does seem that way. The man is so unsettled by the skunk’s presence that he moves away, only to find he misses the skunk. Then roles are reversed, and he begins to stalk to skunk. I think this story is good for both adults and kids. Foos loved it because the shenanigans between the skunk and the man are silent movie funny. I think adults will love it because in a lot of ways the physical skunk in the story is representative of the metaphorical skunks in our lives. We try to ignore it, but its always there, lurking.