This is the tale of Max and Arthur, who are wonderful friends who share a common hobby: painting. Arthur is quite the accomplished artist, while Max is just starting out. When Max’s initial attempt at painting is less than he desires, the two friends embark on a journey through the numerous artistic media options – which leads to hilarious and unexpected challenges. Max may be inexperienced, but he’s a fast learner and is willing to try new things. The energy and enthusiasm he shows adds adventure and leads to a wonderful, triumphant end. This is a book that shows kids that practice really can make perfect.
It has been said that the true example of love is being willing to give of one’s self for the benefit of another. Shel Silverstein tells the story of love between a boy and a tree that is an example of this sacrificial love. From the time the boy is young and needs shade as he plays to growing up and being allowed to climb in her branches to the time when he is older and wants something that may mean the end of the tree, the tree keeps on giving to him- out of love. Though there are many ways to interpret this story, the true message of love shines through. Even when the boy is an old man and long after the tree has been cut down, what is left of the tree is still giving. The old man, once the little boy who played under the tree, now uses the stump of the tree to rest on.
A picture book is a book, typically for children, in which the illustrations are as important as (or even more important than) the words in telling the story. Picture books have traditionally been 32 pages long, although Little Golden Books are 24 pages. In picture books, there are illustrations on every page or on one of every pair of facing pages.
One of the highlights of childhood is experiencing an adventure with a parent. In this charming story, a little girl gets to stay up past her bedtime and go owling with her dad. With the magnificent descriptions of what they hear and illustrations of what they see, everyone who reads this story will in a sense experience the awe and excitement that the little girl felt. It’s no wonder that this is a Caldecott Medal winner and has been one of the most loved books by many for more than 20 years. Told from the perspective of the little girl, this is one special story to share with your own children.
Since then, Selznick has gone on to write two more highly regarded middle-grade picture books. Wonderstruck, which also combines pictures with text, was published in 2011 and became a New York Times bestseller. The Marvels, published in 2015, contains two stories, set 50 years apart that come together at the end of the book. One of the stories is told entirely in pictures. Alternating with this story is another story, told entirely in words.
Dr. Seuss has taken a simple story and made it one that applies to everyone at one time or another. Each milestone in life opens new doors of opportunity, and that is what this story implies. As you read it with your children, you may even be inspired yourself. Not only does it inspire and encourage the reader about the opportunities in life, but it is also entertaining with the traditional Seuss wit and rhyme. Fun to read aloud and even more fun to share with a loved one, this is one picture book that will become a family favorite.