Ah, fellow booknerds…I’m so sorry I’ve been absent. Things have been, globally speaking, insane in the membrane (insane in the brain).
Today, we finished our schoolwork a bit early and the weather is super-gloomy…so I’m here to review a book with my number-one picture-book-reading-buddy…Lily!
I asked her to choose a book from her bookshelf. She was gone for ten minutes. I began to worry and potentially think about going to check on her, but I enjoyed the silence too much. She then proceeded to bring me several books we’d already reviewed. But, after much ado, here’s what she decided on…
Title: After the Fall
Author/Illustrator: Dan Santat
Published: Roaring Brook Press, 2017
My favourite picture book of all time. Oh, Lily. You knew we needed this today.
Okay, so guys…guys…this book. It’s amazing. It’s outstanding. It’s so good. It’s the perfect picture book. But, you know, no over-hyping here.
Just that it’s written by the most talented children’s author/illustrator out there, it’s the most wonderful spin on a nursery rhyme character we all know, it’s got an incredibly powerful message and the writing is tight and the art is amazing.
Also, every person I’ve given a copy to (which is quite a lot of people, really), absolutely adores it as much as I do. (Okay, maybe not AS much, as that would be impossible, but they love it a lot). This was the book I gave to Vivi’s grade one teacher, the teacher that made school something she loved. This was the only book that really summed up how I felt about how she changed Vivi’s life and helped her to fly. It’s the book I read when things look bleak. When I need encouragement. When I want to feel hope. It’s the book that still gives me the feels every time I read the ending. This. Book. Right. Here.
We read the book once again and here’s the follow-up interview with my tiny cohort.
J: What did you think, Lily?
L: It was great! I loved it when he turned into a bird.
J: That’s kind of a spoiler. We probably shouldn’t focus too much on that just yet.
L: Okay, well, I really liked the cereal page. I LOVE the cereals on the top row. The best one is the “Just Marshmallows” cereal. I’d eat that! The most boring one is the one on the bottom row that looks like Baba (her grandfather…my dad…and it does look like him, on the box).
J: What do you think the Baba cereal tastes like?
J: What do you think the saddest part of the story was?
L: When Humpty fell off the wall.
J: What do you think it means when it says that some parts of him couldn’t be put together with bandages and glue?
L: He was hurt on the outside and scared on the inside.
J: What was your second-favourite page?
L: The page with his plane. It’s beautiful. He made it look like a bird because he wanted to watch the birds.
J: How do you think he felt when his plane got stuck on the wall?
L: Scared. He was afraid he’d fall again.
J: Did you know he was going to hatch at the end?
L: No, not the first time we read it. That was a really good surprise.
J: So, is this one of your favourite books?
J: Thanks, Lily.
L: Lily out.
So, the tl;dr version:
Buy a copy of this book because it’s my favourite and it’s perfect in every way and you won’t be sorry. Also, give a copy to every single person you love/like/tolerate/know. Because it will brighten their day and make the world a better place. Deal? Deal.