Monday, April 10, 2006

Quill reviewer calls it "Charming"

from Quill & Quire, March 2006:
Most children are enchanted by tales of their own antics when they were younger and, and Henry’s no different. In a nightly ritual he asks his father to tell him about when he was small. And every night his father indulges him, recalling how Henry was so small that he bathed in a teapot, wore a thimble for a hat, and slept in a slipper. His father’s fanciful stories leave Henry wondering, "Was all that true?," revealing a child’s need to believe in fantasy, especially if it brings him closer to someone he loves.
In her first picture book for children, Montreal writer Sara O’Leary captures that time in childhood when being small is not so far in the past and imbues it with gentle humour and poignancy. Her descriptions of the small Henry are sweet and imaginative, and the text is inviting and soothingly paced.
All this is ably matched by Vancouver-based Julie Morstad’s illustrations. The delicate lines and softest of colours create a nostalgic ambience, as do the depictions of Henry in slightly short jeans, big sneakers, and a striped tee. Altogether, the design of the book is smooth, balanced (one page text, one page illustration), and appealing. Readers will enjoy the gentle, teasing complicity between father and son as they visit their make-believe memories. This charming book has the added benefit of inviting us to join in the game and remember when we too were small.

-Jessica Kelley, a youth librarian in Fresno County, California

(I was pleased to see kudos go to designer Robin Mitchell and publisher Dimiter Savoff for making such beautiful choices in the design of the book. SOL)

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