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On our last trip to the library, Bee insisted on checking out every Early Reader book about insects that he could find. Last night I found myself reading about cockroaches at bedtime. Yeah. Gross.
So while my little entomologist filled our book bag with his choices, I flipped through the bins hunting for a few storybooks. Searching for children’s books this way always seems hit or miss. I’ll spot a book with an intriguing title or beautiful cover, only to flip it open and…Oh…nah… The story is too wordy and complex for my 5-year-old, or too simple, or just too lame. I grab a few books that look promising and hope they’ll be enjoyable reads (for me, as much as for Bee).
So when I find a book that we both end up loving, that has a fun storyline and is well-written and beautifully illustrated, it’s like hitting the kidlit jackpot. Which was the case last week, when we brought home Jonathon and the Big Blue Boat by Philip C. Stead.
As we started to read, curled up on the couch, I had the same reaction as when we read Zephyr Takes Flight
for the first time – that Oh, this is a wonderful book! feeling, which only comes along every few months (in spite of the bazillions of bedtime stories we read).
The story is about a little boy, Jonathon, whose parents trade his teddy bear for a toaster because he is getting big and, ya know, toasters are useful. Jonathon is lonely without his stuffed friend, so he heads out – on a big blue boat – to find him. The collage and acrylic illustrations full of blues and reds, are gorgeous and captivating.
The fact that the main character, Jonathon, just happens to have brown skin and my little guy can see himself reflected in the book is icing on the cake.
While Bee still insists on reading about walking sticks and spiders at bedtime, I know he loved the story as well because the next morning, when we sat down for breakfast, he had already told his daddy alllll about it and that evening insisted Daddy read it to him too.