Plot: From seashore to garden bed, a rainy hour to a comforting cafe, a noisy family-filled room to outdoor night quiet, this rhyming picture book follows a family through their day.
Setting: Small coastal town in United States
Point of View: 1st person (determined by lines such as “All the world is you and me”)
Theme: family, world, life, love, nature, community
Literary Quality: As rhythmic as the waves we see depicted crashing along the rocky shore, the rhymes in this picture book carry readers page to page and place to place. Movement, both linear and circular, is a theme of the story and also artfully crafted with hand-lettered words and pencil and watercolor illustrations. From smaller vignettes surrounded by a lot of white space to full two-page spreads, we move in and out of this beautiful world. The words, too, are not in straight lines across the page but move up and down and often form part of or a frame for the illustrations. Scanlon balances concrete details with abstract concepts in short musical phrases, and invokes all the senses in doing so: touch, sight, hearing, taste and smell. For example, in the garden we see and hear the “Hive, bee, wings, hum,” and touch and see and taste the “Husk, cob, corn, yum!” The ebb and flow from small moments to big ideas in both words and pictures create a lullaby of a story that’s buoyant with a celebration of life, family, community, and the world in which we live.
Audience: Ages 2-8. The short, rhyming text and many pictures will captivate the very young, and older readers will also find much to appreciate in the larger ideas about the world.
Personal reaction: This was one of those books I happened upon while browsing through a bookstore and promptly sat down to read and re-read. The poetry and beautiful illustrations drew me in and kept me lingering.