I’ve been slipping a bit lately in keeping up with book reviews. However I have been busy looking through picture books at my local library and sometimes it just takes awhile to find the right story, something that connects, makes you feel and smile. Sends a message and makes you think of friends across oceans and reminds you of why you love doing what you do.
Sometimes You Fly
Written by: Newberry Medalist Katherine Applegate
Illustrated by: Jennifer Black Reinhardt
Published by: Clarion Books Boston New York April 2018
Ages: 4 – 7 years
Theme: Encouragement, Celebration
Opening Lines: “Before the cake…”
Synopsis: This gorgeous gift book, equally perfect for preschool graduations or college commencements, baby showers or birthdays, is an inspirational tribute to the universal struggles and achievements of childhood. Beginning with a first birthday, the scenes travel through childhood triumphs and milestones, coming full circle to graduation. A magical blend of succinct text and beautiful watercolors renders each moment with tenderness and humor and encourages readers to “remember that with every try, sometimes you fail . . . sometimes you fly.”
Why I like this: It is indeed a beautiful book. While there is barely a sentence on every second page of three or five words, the illustrations say so much more and then some. For example, “Before the peas…” on a page showing a small baby in a highchair refusing to eat her peas turning her back and tipping the bowl off her highchair and a dog picking up the fallen peas. Turn the page and we see a very different picture. The chubby baby is smiling with peas in her hair, over her face and down her clothes and on the floor, and the dog licking his lips. With the spoon in its hand it is obvious that spoon feeding oneself has been accomplished and the love of peas is… well, a work in progress. In “before the know…” a young girl is sitting at her desk book open and hands spread out. Her head is back with eyes closed and a pool of words spin above her. She is clearly overwhelmed. Turn the page and we find her in bed with an audience of soft toys around, her cat on the bed, and an overhead lamp turned on in the late night. She is enthralled in reading softly to her audience In the dark you can see a pile of books on the bedside table. Sure there are fails but there are also achievements. No success comes without trail and error, dedication and patience. When I first flipped through the book I thought of my dear friend and critique buddy Vivian. She is the embodiment of positivity, encouragement, and celebrating success not of herself but of others in our writing world and beyond. I smiled at the young girl practicing hitting a ball, and turn the page to see her jump with excitement at making the baseball team and the diverse children around her celebrating and cheering with her. That is Vivian! It’s amazing when you come across a book that says so much more than its words. It makes you feel, connect and smile. It makes you think of your own life and those around us we know and love. Who cheer when we succeed and lift us up when we trip and fall. A writing life is like that.
Resources/Findings: At eighty-eight words this is a great mentor text for such writing contests as Vivian Kirkfield’s “50 Precious Words” Contest which you can find on her Top Ranked Children’s Book Blog “Picture Books Help Kids Soar” every February. Or Susanna Hill’s Seasoned Writing contests like https://susannahill.com/2018/10/08/the-nina-the-pinta-and-the-guidelines-for-the-8th-annual-halloweensie-contest/ where a story is written in a 100 words or less. Check these out.
Here is Katherine”s Blog and all you need to know about the author of this beautiful children’s book Sometimes You Fly… http://katherineapplegate.com/
Here also is the illustrators blog to see more beautiful illustrations etc… https://jbreinhardt.com/
I’m always pleased to be able to bring you some more special books that have come my way and be able to share them with you and join other great writers over at Susanna’s Blog, where there are literally hundreds of book reviews to view. So pop over and visit the lovely author, Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog and find the tab for Perfect Picture Books. Her blog is full of resources links and activities associated with books reviewed by many authors
Nice choice! I checked it out on Amazon and thought it was a very sweet book. I like the way she writes “Before the ….”. And you’re right, the pictures say it all!
So glad you liked it. The illustrations really show the emotion. Thanks for popping by.
You obviously take the time to find and review the perfect books. This certainly is one of them. Thanks!
Thanks Darlene. Yes I found some beautiful books this past week at the library.
I love Applegate’s work, and this sounds like another great one! Thank you for featuring this title. Can’t wait to read it!
Your welcome Jilanne. I hope you enjoy it.
I love Applegate. Must get this one — 88 words. Wow!
Hi Pat. Yes so few words. Beautifully written by Applegate.
This sounds like an interesting story structure. Plus I love her books… so definitely going to read it!
Glad you like the post Sue. Thanks for stopping by.